STORE CATTLE trading remains buoyant, but there is some confusion over which animals are eligible for the last Beef Special Premium claims, say auctioneers.

Prices for steers that might not receive a second BSPS claim are falling behind those that definitely will and a clear price differential is emerging, say traders.

Auctioneer Simon Draper of Thame market in Oxon, said: “We‘re seeing those cattle only able to claim once making £70-£80 a head less than those with two claims.”

Buyers should not focus purely on subsidy claims, he added, and look instead at the animal‘s commercial potential.

For example, steers unable to receive a second BSPS claim may still be better value than heifers because they would grow into bigger animals.

And buyers should be clear about which animals could still receive a second claim, said Mr Draper.

“To make a second claim, steers must be 20 months old at the start of the retention period.

“As long as a steer is 18 months old on December 29 this year, the retention period can still be deferred for two months.”

  • The Rural Payments Agency has a comprehensive question-and-answer document explaining BSPS claims procedures on its website, www.rpa.gov.uk.