November 10, 2008
The future is looking bright for Britain's beef producers as consumers spend more on beef while domestic supplies fall, according to the National Beef Association (NBA).
Statistics show that less beef will be produced over the next two years and the UK will export more and import less.
NBA director Kim Haywood said that British abattoirs have confirmed that between January and August, cow throughput increased by 20 percent compared with the same period last year and an additional 7,450 cows, many of them capable of breeding more calves, were killed.
The Association is aware that many beef farmers are under short-term cash pressure that is not being helped by the unexpected easing of slaughter cattle prices over the last three weeks. However they would still urge them to take a long-term view and recognise that this autumn could be a good time to hold on to breeding stock as important market trends are moving firmly in their favour.
The NBA said that retail surveys conducted over the three months to October, 6 show that even though total sales were down by 6 percent compared with the same period last year, and more consumers turned to mince and stewing beef, the cash total spent on fresh beef to cook at home rose by 8 percent to GBP374.4 million.
Haywood added that in these circumstances, it reasonable to think that too many breeding cows have already been taken out of the system and that every female that can produce a calf that will be processed in 2010-2011 will be needed.