Finish delays unwise
DELAYING selling finished cattle in order to claim the slaughter premium cost twice as much as the premium is worth.
Sussex-based Laurence Gould consultant Robert Hall says that some producers may be considering keeping cattle until Jan 1, 2000 in order to claim slaughter premium. However, he warns that the rate for cattle over eight-months-old will be only £17 in 2000, is subject to scale-back, and will not be paid in full until 2001.
"Whether it is worth holding onto finished cattle until Jan 1 to claim slaughter premium will vary depending on individual producers.
"The cost of keeping a finished animal for an extra month can vary widely, and producer should assess the cost of extra feed, other variable costs and the risk of cattle increasing in fatness."
Mr Hall estimates that achieving a liveweight gain of 1kg a day will cost about 90p/animal in feed costs, without accounting for labour or any other costs. Including straw, the feed and forage cost of keeping stock for an additional month is £29/head.
"The danger is that if these cattle are already finished, they may be overfat by the time they are sold, and may be worth less too."