asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, in view of the potential difficulties in the coming autumn for beef farmers, he will consider reducing the certifying weight of fat cattle to 7 cwt. on steers.
The present minimum weight of 7½ cwt. for steers is designed to prevent cattle from being marketed before they are ready. To lower the minimum weight would run the risk of undermining the market with sales of immature cattle and thus of increasing marketing problems. Producers themselves can do much to avoid difficulties in the autumn by marketing their cattle in an orderly way, and by taking account of the fact that the monthly target prices for beef are being set to follow the seasonal pattern of market prices which normally increase between the late autumn and the spring.