New protests by farmers threaten supply chain disruption as cattle prices wobble Abattoir operators are again having to confront farmers picketing plants in protest against beef imports and disappointing prices for prime cattle. Tesco supplier St Merryn was the first high profile target in the new campaign, several farmers being arrested on Monday outside its new Merthyr Tydfil plant. The action began despite suggestions by MLC economists of a better trend developing in the finished cattle trade. They pointed to low carcase quality due to early marketings made necessary by the heavy rain as giving a false indication of demand. The MLC's weekly market survey claimed the number of poorly finished cattle coming forward was beginning to decline and "demand has picked up as buyers start thinking about securing stocks for the forthcoming seasonal increase in demand". Irish suppliers selling into the British market were also reporting steady if unspectacular trade, with the usual seasonal improvement in demand for forequarter beef. However, this cautious optimism was called into question on Monday when auction market prices weakened again, taking the national average down to well below 90p per live kilo. {{MEAT }}