CATTLE farmers can now track the effect hide prices have on their animals' values by referring to the English Beef and Lamb Executive's (EBLEX) web site.

Although hide prices are normally not as volatile as sheepskin, at a general price of between £30 and £35, they represent about 5% of an animal's value. During the foot and mouth crisis, prices went as high as £25 to £50 in just three weeks as demand outstripped supply.

Phil Hadley, regional development manager for EBLEX, said: "It is certainly worth cattle farmers checking the prices of hides from time to time as fluctuations could make a difference to the final price being paid at the abattoir."

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