4 September 1998

Stores temptation

EXCESS forage and empty buildings shouldnt be an incentive for keeping store cattle this autumn.

Thats according to Suffolk-based Signet beef specialist Geoff Fish who says producers often opt for finishing stores for the wrong reasons. "Lots of forage and cheap cereals are tempting producers, as is the prospect of an end to the beef ban – but its a big maybe. Costings suggest margins will again be hard won."

Mr Fishs figures show margins of £30/head could be made if recent market prices hold. Thats based on liveweight store costs of £1.25/kg and 80p/kg for steers and heifers respectively, selling deadweight at £1.68/kg and £1.58/kg.

"Many producers opt for steers on green CIDs as theyll attract premium of about £85/head – heifers dont. But watch store prices for steers – the subsidy gain can soon be lost if prices are too high or finished prices fall. Heifers may be a better bet," he says.