2 May 1997

Lighter cattle need

WEAKER prices for cattle above 360kg deadweight, caused by a rise in intervention buying, have added to the need for producers to market cattle at lighter weights.

Signet consultant Ian Ross sugg- ests cattle are drawn carefully before they exceed market requirements.

"All finishers should be weighed and handled to assess finish and then marketed at the right level for the chosen outlet," says Mr Ross.

He says steers should be allowed to exceed 650kg only when a second beef special premium claim is imminent. This is because steers above this weight are fetching 4p-5p/kg less than lighter ones.

The weaker price is due to a rise in demand for steers up to 360kg dw, which qualify for intervention.

Mr Ross warns that, as the 650kg-mark is passed, the extra returns may not exceed the cost of feeding and keeping cattle.

"As cattle grow intakes increase and maintenance feed levels rise, pushing up daily feed needs." &#42