By Farmers Weekly staff

THE release of intervention stocks looks set to put a lid on beef prices in 1999.

EU intervention stocks were nearly 430,000t at the end of 1998, with Germany accounting for 152,000t and the UK 81,000t.

The end-of-year figure marks a fall of nearly 100,000t on 1997 but, with big amounts still to be released, concerns exist about its possible impact on the market.

“The disposal of intervention stocks is a major headache,” says John Brook, managing director of French meat trader Sogeviandes. “It is very difficult even to give the stuff away,” he says, after problems with food aid sales to Russia.