Meat prices still under pressure

By James Garner

ALL meat markets remain under pressure.

Beef prices in the UK for standard R4L quality steers vary from a low of 164p/kg dw in England to a high of 175p/kg dw in Scotland, about the same as last week.

Lamb prices have eased again on last weeks 180-200p/kg dw range, reported the MLC.

Pigs, too, are under pressure, with spot prices down another 5-7p on last weeks 90p/kg. Some contract prices are also said to have fallen.

Many farmers feel aggrieved and believe they are being sold short.

One Devon farmer, who wished to remain nameless, said she was offered just 155p/kg for a standard R grade, 320kg carcass last week at Bridgwater Beef in Taunton.

This week the farmer changed to supplying Southern Counties Fresh Foods at Langport.

Despite a better price of 165p/kg for the same spec animal, all stock had to be inspected by a vet.

This was going to cost an extra 67 for call-out and pre-surgery fees. The farmers two heifers are approaching 30-months, so options are limited.

Supply now appears to be improving, but demand might be constrained by the buying policy of retailers, who bought imported product with gusto when the crisis first broke, when they feared shelves might be left bare.

Frank Bowley, NFU economist, said that there was bound to be some hangover of foreign meat. “No-one had any idea how long the slaughter ban would last and it ended abruptly.”

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