Finished cattle quality remains a crucial factor even though most beef is no longer sold by the retail butcher with an eye for a handsome beast. Andy Tucker, md of ready meal raw material supplier Yorkshire Premier, complains too much forequarter is missing his spec for leanness. "I can only assume farmers have been holding on to cattle too long in the hope of the market improving. Much of the beef coming to us from whatever source has got fatter and fatter." As he points out discreetly in parent company ANM's newsletter, the 1.3% net margin of this business dominated by M&S supply gives little financial room for putting right the farmers' errors. {{MEAT }}

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