BEEF FARMERS should refrain from selling unfinished cattle before the end of the year purely to secure the £50/head slaughter premium, says the National Beef Association.

At the Beef and Growing Cattle event, chief executive Robert Forster said that selling cattle before they were ready would only depress prices and put off buyers.

“I am positive there will be a lift in prices on Jan 1. Don‘t sell cattle pre-Christmas just to get the £50 premium. Sell them when they‘re ready.”

Farmers should also ensure that they don‘t use the single farm payment to subsidise unprofitable farming ventures, said Mr Forster.

“The SFP must not be used to make up the gap between farm costs and market income.

“You as farmers have to accept that you‘ve been daft enough to subsidise consumers for years.

“Are you mug enough to make the same mistake again?”

Mr Forster expected the SFP to be cut at least once over the next four years, and claimed that farmers who used the payment to prop up their businesses would be selling for a massive loss by 2012.