Foot-and-Mouth Shutdown Could Not Be At Worse Time

UK - The general public can be forgiven for assuming that the worst of the foot-and-mouth crisis is over: they will have read reports that livestock markets are once again open for business and will believe that farming is more or less back to a state of normality.
calendar icon 3 October 2007
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There have, thankfully, been no instances of FMD in Scotland, but unwinding from this catastrophe is proving much more difficult than in 2001, and the financial consequences for many farmers will be totally devastating.

The major difference is that the 2001 epidemic, which in one form or another had an impact on 1,644 farms in Scotland, occurred in the early months of that year; a time when there is traditionally little movement of livestock other than direct to slaughter.

The pattern of livestock production in Scotland is one of stratification, with farms in the glens and uplands breeding cattle and sheep for sale and fattening further down the hill in more favoured locations. The bulk of these sales takes place between late August and early November. This year, there have been only a handful of sales since 3 August.

This is the harvest season for the upland producers who ply their trade on 85 per cent of the land mass of Scotland, which is officially classified as being "disadvantaged" and supported by a range of subsidies.

Source: Scotsman
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