By Farmers Weekly reporters
BEEF prices are unlikely to rise for the rest of this year.
Higher-than-expected slaughterings, import pressure and competition from other meats are key reasons, the Meat and Livestock Commission reports in its newly-published Cattle Market Outlook.
Recent averages of 86p/kg lw are 7% down on the beginning of the year and 12% below those of 12 months ago.
Intervention remains of little help to the market, with no purchases into GB stores so far in 1998. But at last weeks tender 978t was accepted in Northern Ireland.
Indeed, cattle prices could come under further pressure if government scraps the calf slaughter scheme in November, when the EU-wide obligation to operate either this, or an early marketing scheme, ends.
Introduced in April 1996 in the face of the export ban, it has claimed 9300 dairy-bred animals and 1250 beef types a week in recent times. Since it opened it has taken more than 1.1m animals, now paying 80 for male animals under 20 days old.