BEEF PRICES could rocket to 140p/kg liveweight or even higher within weeks of the dismantling of the Date Based Export Scheme.

Robert Foster, National Beef Association chief executive claims that the resumption of a bone-in beef export trade would make a great difference to prices.

“It will only take weeks for UK prices to match those of other EU countries and they could be even stronger because of the shortfall in EU supplies.

“Even the Meat and Livestock Commission, a cautious organisation, is predicting a 5-8% rise in prices as soon as exports resume – that‘s 5-8p/kg liveweight or 10-15p/kg deadweight.”

Turning to future primestock values, Mr Foster said a price of 250p/kg deadweight, 140p/kg live, would not cover production costs on a breeder-feeder unit.

Producers would have to reduce overheads and costs.

He was concerned at the high prices some producers have been paying for stores. “Their expectations are exceeding reality.

“There won‘t be a shortage of finished cattle this autumn.

“It‘s likely more will be marketed in November and December in an effort to claim slaughter premium. This will create steadier prices for finishers towards the end of the year.”

But he believed the pressures on the market were positive.

The EU had no intervention beef in store for the first time in living memory and it had already created a 20% rise in forequarter and cheaper cuts.