11 April 1997

Scant comfort from beef rise

BEEF prices turned up early this week, partly on the back of higher intervention contracts.

Live finished steers climbed back over the 100p/kg-mark on Monday. But such news brings scant comfort for many farmers.

Yorkshire beef finisher Nick Baker is now faced with the worst prices he has ever seen, even compared with the weeks immediately after the BSE crisis broke.

"We are now getting deadweight prices under the 180p/kg-mark," he said early this week. But Mr Baker is reluctant to delay selling stock, because once live bulls and heifers get past 650kg and 450kg, respectively, weight discounts could apply.

"In the case of heifers, animals that were making 230p/kg deadweight prior to the crisis are now at about 175p/kg.

"So a heifer at 240kg that was once making over £550 is probably now worth £420. Worrying times." &#42