Scepticism as NBA urges extra supply to boost prices Cattle breeders' and finishers' hopes of achieving higher prices by boosting production are a paradoxical reaction to margin pressure in the view of mainstream market analysts. A couple of the most respected advisers to the British industry discreetly expressed scepticism when asked by The Grocer to comment on the National Beef Association's call for a quick expansion of finished cattle output to keep the market strong. "Prime cattle prices are already firmer but they will stay that way only if we can keep cheaper imports out by making sure we always have enough cattle of our own," is the rallying call to farmers from NBA chief executive Robert Forster. Losses due to FMD together with the subsidy system encouraging the running of empty' heifers have effectively reduced the breeding herd by nearly a quarter of a million head, pointing to a future finished cattle supply squeeze. However, the NBA is seen as misguided in believing extra supply will not force prices down. Forster's critics see a need for ensuring higher production brings lower average costs, narrowing the price gap between home-killed and imported product. {{MEAT }}