29 March 1996

Dont leave sucklers open

SUCKLER producers cannot afford to leave their cows open, warns SACs Basil Lowman. Otherwise they lose eligibility for suckler cow premium and non-productive cows cost more to keep than the value of the premium. But it makes sound economic sense for producers with more cows than premium to shed excess stock, says Dr Lowman.

"As it is increasingly difficult to source suckler replacements producers should consider choosing a bull to produce heifer replacements," he suggests.

"This has two benefits. It takes more beef off the market as stock is kept for replacements, rather than finished. And it makes existing suckled herds more self contained should BSE policy change in the future."

Dr Lowman believes the crisis will result in a more efficient UK beef system in two years.

which will be better able to compete on world markets.