Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Some Beef Farmers `Are Mothballing Activities'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Some Beef Farmers `Are Mothballing Activities'

Article excerpt

Byline: By Anna Lognonne

Some beef farmers have already reacted to decoupling by mothballing their businesses and will not lift the dust sheets until a lift in market income persuades them it is financially safe to re-commit themselves to cattle, the National Beef Association said yesterday.

According to NBA chief executive Robert Forster, from Northumberland, their actions signal what will happen across the industry unless the pressing issue of a realistic slaughter price is resolved.

He said: "If these early birds are making decisions like this now the industry can be sure other farmers will soon follow unless a quick upward market movement persuades them to change their minds.

"Up until now some processors, and some industry strategists, have been hoping supplies will be sustained because farmers will be slow to cast aside business habits developed during decades of coupled support and slaughter cattle will continue to come forward even though breeders and feeders are regularly losing unsustainable sums on each animal.

"However they should note that some intensive dairy bull finishers have already suspended their systems until there is a significant rise in the price of the finished animal and may shut down altogether if no increase arrives.

"Also some specialist store feeders have either slowed down their purchasing operations, or have put them on hold, while others are saying they will do the same as soon as they have mopped up the last of the steers that qualify for BSP if slaughter cattle prices continue to stick at current levels."

According to the NBA similar moves are being considered in the breeding sector too because recent market reports highlight that replacement suckler heifer prices are moving backwards at the same time as breeding ewe prices are increasing. …

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