Beef prices slipping in volatile market

BEEF prices are ‘slipping again’ after being ‘excessively low’ over the summer, with market volatility a continuing concern, livestock chairman Alistair Mackintosh told NFU council this week.

However, he predicted better times after Christmas as corn prices rise and it becomes uneconomic to finish black and white bull calves, meaning there will be a tightening of supply and firmer New Year prices.

He also reported a distinctly mixed verdict at markets on of movement recording and EID in sheep, with some describing as ‘good enough with a tolerance’ and others reporting it works less than 50 per cent of the time.

More from NFU council…

Badger culling policy ‘must be cost-effective’

ANY badger cull policy in England must be cost-effective for farmers, NFU head of food sand farming Kevin Pearce told the council, after concerns were raised that the cost could prove prohibitive.

“We are focussed on making this cost effective and making sure Defra realise it must be cost effective,” he said, insisting he believed ways could be found to ensure key costs, such as carcase disposal, are kept to a minimum.

Mr Pearce and NFU president Peter Kendall reiterated calls to farmers to respond to the consultation on badger culling in England, insisting the decision was ‘not a done deal’.

“We have got this opportunity as a starting basis and it will be a long time before we get anything else,” Mr Pearce said.

Raymond hits out at milk price ‘scandal’

UK milk production is up a ‘staggering’ 7 per cent on the same time last year, and was up 6.2 per cent in August. Cumulatively, production is up by over 2 per cent on last year, NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond told council.

This could be the first year in almost a decade for a rise in UK production, although extra costs and ‘scandalous’ milk prices could force many farmers to re-think, he warned.

He said milk prices in most member states had been rising steadily and UK markets for cream, butter and milk powder ‘remain strong’. This leaves a ‘serious question’ as to why farmgate milk prices continue to lag behind at an average 24ppl, he said.

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