June 24, 201

 

Scottish meat industry contributes to economy

 

 

The Scottish Red Meat Industry Profile 2011, shown at this week's Royal Highland Show, indicates the significance of the red meat sector to the country's economic output.

 

The farming and processing of red meat generated some GBP1.8 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) during 2010, up 8% on the previous year, and accounted for a 0.7% share of Scotland's GDP.

 

The nation's meat processors saw a 15% on year turnover increase during 2010 to around GBP930 million (US$1.5 billion), much of it down to exports, which showed a 40% revenue increase.

 

The report said on the back of improved livestock prices in 2008 and 2009, confidence began to return to the industry and, as a consequence, the decline in breeding stock numbers reversed in the cattle and pig sectors during 2010.

 

However, the sheep population contracted further, but this was attributed to particularly severe weather conditions over winter and at lambing.

 

The changes in supply held down farmgate beef and pig prices, while elevating lamb prices further. The report suggested as 2010 drew to a close, sheep producers were feeling confident and this could slow the decline in the breeding flock.

 

Beef, and particularly pig farmers, however, felt a squeeze on profit margins as input costs rose sharply, while returns trailed year-earlier levels.

 

In the processing sector, some of the pressure on the margins of firms processing beef and pork should have eased, while lamb processors experienced tighter margins. Concerns over future livestock availability remained.

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