Cattle hold-back set to push up prices Corned beef prices are likely to rise shortly as both Brazil and Argentina have supply problems resulting from farmers holding back cattle from markets. In Brazil, farmers have benefited from favourable weather conditions enabling them to achieve weight gain from good pastures at no extra feed cost. Argentinean farmers have a very different problem following the foot and mouth issue as only farms approved by government veterinary officials can supply meat to the market. Stringent controls involving cattle inspection at the point of departure from farms mean long delays in getting cattle to slaughter. Frigorificos have complained that these hold-ups are causing loss of business. UK importers report shipment delays of up to six weeks. Any likelihood of lower prices from Argentina following the devaluation of the peso is therefore remote. Brazilian corned beef production is down by as much as 50% due to the lack of cattle, and shipment delays are now accruing. "We believe the frigorificos are cutting production due to the premium farmers are demanding in order to release cattle on to the market," an importer told The Grocer. But sources in Sao Paolo said drier, cooler weather was forecast which would encourage farmers to release cattle to the market as the weight gains could be reversed. "Ranchers will not want to risk moving into a weight loss regime, which cooler weather can cause," said a source in Sao Paolo. {{CANNED GOODS }}