Experts to reveal beef export news

The reopening of the export market will provide some positive news for delegates at the National Beef Association's annual meeting, which is being held at Hexham next Wednesday.

The reopening of the export market will provide some positive news for delegates at the National Beef Association's annual meeting, which is being held at Hexham next Wednesday.

The main speakers are the Meat and Livestock Commission's export development specialist, Jean-Pierre Garnier, and Portuguese beef importer, Senor Diogo Macedo.

Both will be able to refer to actual market responses to the export re-opening which began on May 3 when delivering their assessment of the most likely direction of this new trade in beef.

The meeting, being staged at 1pm at Hexham Auction Mart, will be preceded by a special sale of beef breeding stock which begins at 12 noon at the same venue.

NBA chief executive Robert Forster said: "There has already been a noticeable price response in the cull cow market which is being fuelled by the re-opening of important new outlets in France and the Netherlands.

"The demand tug created by the rapidly expanding beef deficit on the EU market is expected to result in the overall UK cow average hitting Republic of Ireland levels later this month, which is much earlier than even the most optimistic forecaster had anticipated.

"And it is now expected that the price impact on the prime cattle market will be more or less fully evident by the end of first full week in June, so one of the most important profit/loss markers in the industry will not be long in coming."

The NBA is hoping that members from across the North, and also southern Scotland, will attend the important meeting which is the first the Association has staged at its new, national headquarters, on the Hexham market site.

"The encouraging rise in cull cow values is important for all suckled calf breeders because it will reduce the cost of breeding heifer replacements by around £40 a year," said Mr Forster.

"The benefits could be even higher if more breeders cull out cows after their fifth or sixth calf, while they still have a high market value, and fewer cows are wasted because they are sold when they are too old or have to be diverted through the Fallen Stock Scheme.

Jean-Pierre Garnier will be able to provide a realistic update on cow beef export issues across all 25 EU countries and will also comment on developments on the prime beef market.

"So far, the indications have been extremely positive with typical commercial steers selling for 115p liveweight (210p deadweight) across the North of England and values of 125p (225p) recorded in the North of Scotland.

"And Senor Macedo has long-standing experience of buying beef from other EU countries over the period these markets were shut to the British industry, so we expect him to be able to give an indication of the wide range of carcase types that will be wanted, as well as list the weight, age and leanness of the ideal beef animal for the main markets which will give suckled calf producers more exact targets to aim at.

"In addition to this, we anticipate a number of questions from the floor and would be surprised if queries on the development of live sales of weaned calves to Spain and Italy are not among them."

Presentations by these export specialists will be immediately preceded by an AGM at which Duff Burrell will give his first chairman's report. It will be followed immediately by an EGM at which a motion to remove Keith Redpath from the board of directors will be put to the membership.

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