Two new reports both point in the same direction - tight supplies
of beef and lamb throughout 2008 according to the Meat and Livestock
Commission's (MLC) Economics section.
Sheep meat exports are forecast to be higher year-on-year for
2008 and this, combined with steady import volumes and lower domestic
production are expected to contribute to a three per cent fall
in supply on the home market this year.
British beef is also expected
to be in demand with tighter supplies, as prime cattle slaughterings
this year are also forecast lower and average carcase weights are
predicted to be lower than last year.
There is still some uncertainty
regarding the availability of cull cows for manufacturing beef,
as much depends on the profitability of the dairy herd; if current
strong prices for milk are maintained, fewer cow slaughterings
are expected than last year.
MLC Business Development Manager, Joanne
Knowles, said "The
final June 2007 survey results showed a one per cent contraction
in the dairy herd, and the suckler herd was down by more than two
per cent. We expect this to feed through to December with continued
decline in the national breeding herd.
"In the sheep sector,
although a backlog of lambs still needs to be removed, clean sheep
slaughterings are forecast to be lower for the year as a whole,
partly due to a smaller lamb crop."
Sheep Market Outlook and
Cattle Market Outlook are quarterly publications from MLC Economics,
which review recent developments in those sectors and provide short-term
forecasts for herd numbers and production. Annual subscriptions
are available from as little as £36.
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