Extra cattle could hit March values

6 March 1998

Extra cattle could hit March values

By Tim Relf

CATTLE prices could come under yet more pressure, with marketings set to rise.

With Jan 1 marking the start of the beef special premium scheme (BSPS) year, a lot of animals will have been put on the two-month retention period in early January.

So the next eight to 12 weeks will see a lot sold, says auctioneer Paul Gentry at Newark.

Prices, meanwhile, show a big variation. On Monday in Newark, the range was from 78p to 134p/kg. Averages would have been about 110p/kg for the best animals, with decent, wholesaling beasts about 86p/kg, and the bottom 15% – "the also-rans" – about 79p/kg.

Farmer Ewan Brewis, Lempitlaw, Kelso says the prospect of a second payment under the BSPS is encouraging people to delay marketing stock until it is past its best. "By then it has become bigger and plainer and harder."

Cattle have finished as well as they ever have, says Mr Brewis. "If it had been damp and humid, they would have sweated a lot."

This year, Mr Brewis is feeding them bread rather than home-grown barley. At £54/t its a good buy, he reckons, and it has cash flow benefits because the barley has long-since been sold. Animals are also getting vegetable waste. "We get it for nothing – so thats certainly a good buy."

Mr Brewis sold Aberdeen-Angus steers through Edinburgh market last week and made 130p/kg. "Quite pleased," he said, afterwards.

Meanwhile at Ludlow, Shropshire, trade was more difficult on Monday, report auctioneers McCartneys. Across-the-board among the steers, averages were 82.5p/kg for lights, 87.6p/kg for mediums and 88.5p/kg for heavies.

"Well-meated and well-fleshed cattle were at a premium – especially if they were FABBL-approved," said a market spokesman.

Steers averaged 87p/kg at auction marts across England and Wales on Monday.

&#8226 No beef was tendered by GB traders at the latest intervention round, adjudicated in Brussels last Friday. Accepted amounts of steer meat from Northern and Southern Ireland were 450t and 684t respectively. &#42

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