27 October 1995

Firm future for finished cattle

FINISHED cattle prices will remain firm for the rest of the year and into 1996, according to the MLC in its latest quarterly market outlook.

Further declines in the breeding herd and continuing calf exports will limit availability, says the report.

Clean cattle slaughterings are expected to fall 1.5% from this years forecast 2.52m head. Cull cow marketings, meanwhile, are predicted to be 8% down.

The net effect will be a 3% fall in beef and veal production next year.

Almost empty by Christmas

Intervention stocks, having fallen over 60% in the first eight months of 1995, look set to be almost empty by Christmas. And a further rise in beef exports will contribute to the tight supplies.

The report says margins from cereal-beef have improved in 1995 as the effect of the firm finished beef trade and last autumns cheaper calves are felt.

Strong store cattle prices and the higher rate of suckler cow premium, meanwhile, will have helped improve returns of hill and upland suckler producers.

Returns to 18-month-beef systems are described as similar to 1994. But silage-beef producers may have seen lower margins this year.