For the third year in a row, we have seen winter finishers incur a big loss on their finishing system. High store prices, expensive feed and a falling beef price leave the business making a loss once again in 2024.

Factories appear happy to shift their efforts to feedlot cattle during these months but what consequences will this have for the sector?

Factory agents continue to talk the beef trade down, citing demand issues across the EU and UK leading to the current price pressure.

However, as Adam Woods reports, the most recent UK beef sales data tell a different story. Sales volumes are up, and retail prices for every cut from steaks to mince.


Production across Europe is also forecast to be back in 2024. The bigger issue at the moment appears to be on the supply side and the fact that we have slaughtered an extra 20,000 cows so far in 2024, the majority of which are dairy cows. There is no doubt that the reduction in stocking rates due to nitrates changes on dairy farms is having an impact on the trade.

The even bigger issue is transparency in the sector.

The complete lack of price transparency means farmers don’t know who to believe when it comes to markets. If our beef industry has a future, this has to change.