Prime cattle numbers drop

By Farmers Weekly staff

PRIME cattle numbers continue to fall year-on-year, providing some hope that limited supplies may help firm cattle prices soon.

Latest EU forecasts show a fall of 19% in EU beef output this year, to 7.6 million tonnes. That puts production at its lowest point for several years, says the Irish Food Board.

At home, latest slaughter statistics from MAFF suggest both steers and heifers are down by 1000 head a week compared with last year, to 22,000 and 18,000 head respectively.

The MLC suggests this partly accounts for the relative stability of beef prices at around 88p/kg, which bucks the marked seasonal decline of previous years.

Steer numbers are still falling, due largely to the effects of the calf processing aid scheme.

Over 1000 prime cattle are being entered on the Over-30-Months Scheme each week; many are heifers unsuitable for breeding.

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