Robert Forster’s Industry News.
Hopes that prime cattle prices could climb to unexpectedly high levels this autumn continue to mount. Thoughts are beginning to swing towards the possibility that the beef market in Great Britain will be more lightly supplied this autumn than was considered possible even three months ago – although some prime cattle deliveries may only be postponed into what continues to look like an overcrowded New Year.
A July-December bulge in supplies was first anticipated in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland last autumn after a surge in calf registrations over 2014.
It is not yet known if AHDB feels a re-appraisal is necessary while the latest indications from the Livestock and Meat Commission in Northern Ireland are that it stands by its original forecast – although Quality Meat Scotland has indicated that lighter carcase weights may reduce overall supplies even if the number of cattle processed remains at forecast levels.
However some processors are beginning to feel uneasy about the lighter than expected volume of cattle that may come their way before the end of the year and their concern is mirrored at farm and farm agent level where suspicions that ex-farm disposals over July-December could fall short of earlier forecasts continue to mount.
Those who think a revision in supply outlook is needed cite a combination of lighter carcase weights combined with slower finishing after a cold, wet, mid-summer and an abundance of both grass, and winter forage stocks, at farm level.
This, they feel, means that many of the cattle that were expected to be pushed to slaughter weight before housing will be held in store at grass before being finished in yards and turned out to either in early December or after the New Year instead.
Others add that pressure on dairy farmers is also easing and this could mean fewer cows being culled before housing – while also pointing out that a euro that has settled at around 83p-84p means beef will be imported from the Republic of Ireland (RoI) with less enthusiasm than would have been the case if the euro-sterling exchange rate continued to stand at its pre-referendum level of 70p.
BIN has been told by experienced traders that the value of in-specification prime cattle offered over in Great Britain over September-October could climb to totally unexpected levels.
There will be updates on this important change in thinking in forthcoming issues.