February 15, 2008


UK sees tight beef and lamb supply throughout 2008



The Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) of the UK released reports on supplies of beef and lamb, stating scant availability of the meats this year.


A three-percent fall in the supply of sheep meat is expected due the growth of exports, steady import volumes and low domestic output in 2008.


Beef is also projected to dwindle as prime cattle slaughtering is lower this year and average carcass weights are below 2006 figures. This trend will go on amidst high demand, the report said. 


Furthermore, there is 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 will go on, there would be fewer cow slaughtering against last year. 


Joanne Knowles, MLC business development manager, said the final June 2007 survey results showed a one percent contraction in the dairy herd, while the suckler herd was down by more than two percent. This is expected to feed through to December with continued decline in the national breeding herd.


Knowles explained that although a backlog of lambs still needs to be removed, sheep slaughtering is forecast to be lower for the year as a whole, partly due to a smaller lamb crop.


MLC Economics publishes Sheep Market Outlook and Cattle Market Outlook quarterly to review recent developments in such sectors and provide short-term forecasts for herd numbers and production in the UK.

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