Inferior bull beef in demand

By Farmers Weekly staff

BULL beef is in demand, particularly for younger sorts, despite being dubbed by some as an inferior product to steer beef.

According to Alistair Sneddon of Bagshaws, entries at Bakewell saw bids premium sorts between £1.07-£1.10/kg last week representing “a cracking trade”.

Clive Roads, of McCartneys at Ludlow, would like more bull beef in the ring. “We need more each week,” he says.

MAFF statistics suggest that numbers are running at about 7000 a week.

MLC figures for previous Mondays trade show 535 being sold through live markets, at an average price of 95.57p/kg, an increase of 1.7p on the previous week and 2.54p more than steers on the same day.

Part of the favourable price differential compared with steers is because bulls are more intensively reared, explains Mr Sneddon.

Iain Sutar, of Southern Counties Auctioneers, agrees. Bulls reared in this way are fulfilling a niche for supermarkets that want a standard quality, box-fed rather than grazed animal, preferably less than 14 months old.

“All bulls fed from yards are generally a better quality animal compared with whats coming off grass at this time of year.”

Robert Forster, of the National Beef Association, says it is a myth that bull beef is an inferior product. “The prices in liveweight markets dont show that,” he says.

Richard Cracknell, managing director of ABP adds: “Its rubbish to say theres no market for bull beef. We buy bulls of any quality, and we have markets for all of them.”

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