Record Prices Means Time To Cull The Weakest

UK - Breeders should take advantage of record prices for cull cows and comb their herds free of sub-fertile females as well as stock which test positive to Johnes’ disease and Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).
calendar icon 8 September 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

But they should not, suggests the National Beef Association, be tempted into cashing in good breeding females, just to take advantage of the unusually strong market, because a bright future for the beef sector lies ahead and replacement breeding females will soon become even more expensive.

“The average cull cow price is within a whisker of £800 a head, and most beef bred cows are making over £1,000. The NBA worries that some breeders are selling off perfectly good productive cows either to maintain cash flow, or to thin down their beef herd, which might still be struggling to produce positive margins,” explained NBA chairman, Oisin Murnion.

“Evidence that this is happening lies in the worrying 25 per cent, year on year, rise in cull cow disposals recorded so far in 2011 and the equally disturbing seven per cent increase in prime heifer disposals that suggests most of the culled cows are not being replaced.”

“Breeders who still worry about the long term future for beef should take a careful look at the steady acceleration in prime cattle prices recorded so far this year and the rising value of store cattle.”

“These are being driven by an acute world shortage of beef which has reduced imports into the UK at exactly the same time that exports have also increased dramatically.”

“On top of that there is strong domestic demand so the overall British prime cattle average, already approaching 320 pence, is expected to continue to climb at its current pace because none of these price lifting factors are expected to soften over the next ten years at least.”

However the NBA is keen to encourage breeders to take advantage of the strong market and sell off cows that fail to produce a calf, are persistently infected with BVD, or are in the early stages of Johnes disease, at the first opportunity.

“The strong market for cows is built on huge domestic demand for mince and a booming export trade for the heaviest carcases. Mince accounts for 50 per cent of beef eaten in UK homes and over the past month most supermarkets have lifted the price of their basic mince lines by 25 per cent.”

“This is further confirmation of the positive direction the beef industry is taking. It is still too early to talk about a boom but market prices are hitting new, record levels, almost every week and breeding herds which carry no passengers, and are populated by fertile cows that are free of the most common costly diseases, will be in the best position to take advantage of these encouraging trading conditions.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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