LIVESTOCK MARKETS will be one of the main drivers behind beef prices after CAP reform, says the National Beef Association.

Speaking at the opening of Gisburn Auction Mart‘s new building in Lancs, NBA chief executive Robert Forster said that markets “would play a leading part in how the livestock industry develops”.

“The auction system will be the key to competition, price-setting, transparency and have a modern role as both a business and social centre,” said Mr Forster.

“We are looking to the auction trade to set some of the pace and prices as we move forward.”

He said the NBA felt liveweight prices needed to be between 130 and 140p/kg to cover farmers‘ production costs.

That is a substantial rise on this week‘s (w/e May 7) 101.4p/kg average for steers.

Mr Forster said he hoped the over 30-month scheme would be phased out in the spring of 2005, and the industry should be looking to the Irish cow-beef price for a starting point.

“A price around 144p/kg deadweight opens the way to liveweight prices of 65-70p/kg when OTMS is removed.”