Beef Supply Can Match Demand

UK - Breeders and feeders can turn out enough beef cattle over the next decade – if they are offered enough money to cover their risk and effort.
calendar icon 12 April 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The market for beef cattle is turning and the National Beef Association (NBA) thinks specialist farmers will soon be in a position when they can make an informed decision on whether to maintain output, or increase it.

It concedes that up until now continued beef production has, on too many occasions, been a triumph of hope over balance sheet reality. But the NBA believes market income will soon approach levels that will help good managers defeat rising costs and reduced CAP support payments.

“Finished cattle prices are surging forward as strong domestic, EU and world demand challenges shrinking domestic, EU, and world, supplies - and there is a virtually universal expectation that UK beef prices will continue to strengthen as 2011 progresses,” explained Association director, Kim Haywood.

“This has already put processors in a new and strange position. They are already paying out record prices for prime cattle and the companies that offer the most money will be doing so in anticipation of being able to secure all the stock they need to meet their regular orders.”

“They will not be expecting this tactic to cover just one, short, summer, but to continue into 2012 – and beyond. So what is at stake for them is confidence that regular supplies will continue to come forward, as needed, across the current decade and into 2020.”

“The NBA wants the UK to produce as much beef as possible at the highest possible price for the farmer and is keen that suckled calf breeders are able to feel confident that calves bred from bulls put to cows this summer will be sold in 2012-2013 for enough money to not just cover costs but deliver investment income as well.”

“The message from processors to finishers is that if they pay the best prices on offer each week they can expect to be able to build a secure, and loyal, group of suppliers who will commit themselves to deliveries well into the future.”

“However the NBA would be more confident if it could be sure their retail customers had grasped, at last, that good cattle are already in short supply and processors needed additional income to cover the greater expense of gathering enough of the right types of cattle each week to meet retail orders”, Ms Haywood added.

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