24 May 1996

Gap opens up for young bulls

and steers

AS FINISHED cattle prices continue to fall, the differential between young bulls and steers is widening.

At the end of April, young bulls, at 103p/kg, were making about 3.5p/kg less than steers. But by Tuesday (May 21) this differential had more than doubled, with young bulls averaging under 92p/kg compared with 99p/kg for steers.

With its traditional reliance on overseas demand, the bull beef market has been particularly badly hit by the export ban, says Duncan Sinclair of the Meat and Livestock Commission.

Meanwhile intervention has been of little help to this market, with only 12t accepted from Britain in the last tender. This has prompted calls from traders for the eligibility criteria to be widened, allowing animals of fat class 4 to be tendered.

A spokesman for the Intervention Board said this was being considered. &#42