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Organic Beef Boost in Scotland

26 February 2009

SCOTLAND, UK - The production of finished organic beef and organic grain in Scotland increased during 2008-09 but the production of prime organic lamb is static, says the latest figures.

These are just some of the findings of the annual survey of organic producers in Scotland undertaken as part of the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) Organic Market Link (OML) project. 66 per cent of organic producers took part in the survey which, for the first time, aimed to collect data from all sectors. For the fifth year running more than 90 per cent of Scotland’s beef, lamb and grain producers were accounted for.

Between July 2008 and June 2009, organic producers in Scotland will finish just over 8,000 head of organic cattle, (an increase of 17 per cent) and 100,000 prime organic lambs (a reduction of less than 1 per cent). While the number of store cattle has increased by 10 per cent store lamb numbers have fallen once again. This year’s drop of 13 per cent reflects the loss of some hill farmers from the organic sector.

The production of fully organic grains and pulses increased 25 per cent in 2008 to approximately 22,500 tonnes. The survey estimated that 41 per cent of the grains would be retained for on-farm use with the remaining 13,500 tonnes available for trading.

With very few, if any, new organic conversions reaching full organic status this coming year, Scotland will not expect any significant increase in new livestock producers. However, when asked about their future intentions (for 2009-2011), 50 per cent of Scotland’s organic prime beef producers said they planned to produce a similar number to this year, whilst a further 43 per cent indicated they intend to increase their organic production. So, similar or slightly higher numbers of prime beef are expected during the next two-year period.

According to SAC Organic Market Link Coordinator, Caroline Bayliss,

“Information gathered through the OML survey has demonstrated continuity of supply which has given two volume processors the confidence to get their organic beef lines running in Scotland. Supply information is fundamental for processors and multiple retailers when deciding to turn on new market outlets for Scottish organic producers.

It has also allowed direct farmer to farmer trading for grains, pulses and store stock to develop. This is useful when the market is small and geographically fragmented. In addition, the results provide pointers to organic producers needing to make production decisions.

We’re very grateful for the continued co-operation of producers in undertaking the survey."

TheCattleSite News Desk



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