Beef market changes in UK

UK - Fall in prime beef supply predicted, but reducing age at slaughter may bring hope.
calendar icon 19 January 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The British beef industry will see a fall in prime beef supply and a rise in cow beef production as more cull cows become eligible for the food market.

This was the prediction from ANM Group Ltd chief executive Brian Pack in a speech at a major conference in Glasgow this week.

Pack outlined his views on the beef market and scope for exports at the 2007 Semex Dairy Conference.

He said that with 70 percent of imports coming from Ireland, what happens in Irish agriculture will be significant for the UK and, for the first four months of beef exports, Ireland was the UK’s second largest customer.

He added: “Ireland has introduced subsidies for suckler cow production to ensure their industry maintains its scale and have made funding available for the slaughter industry to re-structure.”

Pack highlighted a steady increase in UK exports since May 2006 but warned that the strength of the pound against the Euro is an obstacle.

“Also, we are not members of Euroland, resulting in currency conversion costs and risk of adverse currency movements,” he said.

“Since 1995/96 the pound has strengthened by some 15 percent to 20 percent, so even if we sold the product at exactly the same price as 10 years ago, our customers would believe it was 15 percent to 20 percent dearer.”

Pack illustrated how 2006 UK average prime cattle prices have bucked the European trend, rising rather than falling.

“The resulting convergence of price should be heeded by those who argue that the future of our beef industry depends on a quick, steep rise in price,” he said.

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