20 September 1996

GB traders ignore IB scheme

BEEF traders have ignored the EUs new lightweight intervention provisions.

The scheme extends eligibility to animals under 10 months old and over 300kg, at a price 23% above the finished cattle rate.

But not a single tonne in this category was offered from British traders at the latest intervention round. EU-wide, however, 1559t was offered, with Spain accounting for 963t.

The need to retain cattle until over 10 months old to qualify for a beef special premium payment may have been a reason for the lack of interest, according to a Meat and Livestock Commission spokesman.

The latest intervention did, meanwhile, see 395t of young bull and 3543t of steer meat accepted from the UK.

This is likely to have contributed to the rising finished cattle prices early this week. On Monday, steer values rose nearly 3p on the week to over 99p/kg. And the rise could have been greater, had marketings not risen 14%. A seasonal lift in demand may also have been a factor.

For the next intervention round on Sep 24, a one-off rise in the processors margin has been approved. Increased from 83p/kg to 108p/kg, this has been widely welcomed and could see a larger volume passing into store.

Safety-net provisions will also be invoked for young bulls in GB, with the market price having been below 60% of the intervention level in each of the past two weeks.