Beef cash is being wasted

4 July 1997

Beef cash is being wasted

BEEF producers are throwing away about £180,000 a week by missing the 30-months deadline on selling prime cattle for human consumption.

Instead of realising this weeks 94p/lw kg average return, around 1000 cattle will be sold for 64p/kg on the OTMS scheme, which MLC regards as "a ludicrous waste of money".

"Over a year down the line since the scheme was introduced some farmers are producing cattle for a government disposal scheme, and getting about £180 a head less for them," says MLC economist Duncan Sinclair.

"A few will be heifers that were retained for possible breeding and not bulled, but most are going into the scheme unnecessarily. They pick up two BSPS payments but end up making far less money. Nobody can produce prime cattle for 64p/kg."

The cost of compensation on prime cattle that should have been killed earlier could also impact on the level of payment on genuine OTMS cattle.

MLC beef specialists are also concerned that too many producers who sell in time are not modifying their systems in response to changed market demand.

"They are suffering heavy price penalties for continuing to produce 350kg carcasses when the trade wants a top weight of 300kg, claims Chris Brown, MLCs beef strategy manager.

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