Farmers purchasing store cattle this autumn with the intention of finishing next spring require a beef price around 500p/kg to cover production costs and generate a modest £100 margin per head.

Our analysis is based on an efficient beef finishing unit purchasing animals at current store cattle prices, with input costs for concentrate, feed and forage remaining as they are at present.

After 13 consecutive weeks of falling prices, there is some more life in the beef trade this week, with processors finding it more difficult to secure numbers, and a general acceptance that the bottom has been reached. However, sources maintain that demand remains fairly flat, which will act to keep a lid on price increases in the weeks ahead.

As a result, farmers should give serious consideration to the economics of winter finishing before committing to filling sheds.

In the marts, good quality continental stores weighing 500kg to 550kg are currently making 240p to 260p/kg for animals with potential U grade conformation.

Continued on page 4

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