25 February 2000

Right cattle price key

SOURCING cattle at the right price is a key factor in making profits at one Northumberland mixed farm.

Gordon Meek of Eland Hall, Newcastle, said it was essential to buy-in cattle at the right price.

Mr Meek, who feeds heifers and bulls on a totally mixed ration for about 50p/kg liveweight gain, said he considered the finished price before buying. When the buying-in price was higher than the finished price, making a margin could be hard.

He buys in 250 strong heifer stores a year, and explained how much effect buying-in price could have. When he paid 80p/kg, or for a 400kg beast a total cost of £320, Mr Meek could feed this animal for a further 90 days, costing a £62.

He could then sell it for 90p/kg, leaving a margin over feed of £86 before the slaughter premium. But, when buying stores at the same level as the sale price – 90p/kg – his margin over feed is only £46, which leaves him no profit. &#42