June 29, 2020


Registrations of beef calves in Scotland increase 5% year-on-year



Scotland has seen a 5% rise year-on-year in beef calf registrations, with a growing number of these being native breeds, The Courier reported.


Native breeds make up close to 30% of all registrations, based on the latest data from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). That is an increase of nearly 50% in the past decade and confirms that more calvings than ever occurred in the first third of the year.


Meanwhile, QMS economist Stuart Ashworth has a mixed message in his weekly market commentary.


He points out the recent increase in beef sales through high street food stores and butchers has contributed to a firming in farm gate prices, although AHDB's weekly retail tracker has already indicated some slowdown in the growth of household spending on beef in June.


"The slow reopening of food service adds competition for meat but may reduce supermarket requirements as people revert to old behaviours. Increased opportunities to spend money on leisure and recreational pursuits as the summer progresses could also bring challenges," Ashworth said.


"Also hanging over the market is the future of furlough schemes as well as the potential growth in unemployment and reduced incomes that may bring."


Turning to domestic demand for fresh and chilled beef in the traditional summer holiday period of July and August, Ashworth predicted confusion in the market this year.


"Statistics from the UK Office of National Statistics indicate that, during the whole of 2019, there were some 60 million overseas holiday trips by UK residents but only some 17 million holiday trips into the UK," he said. "If overseas holiday trips are curtailed this summer, as seems likely then, despite a reduction in overseas visitors to the UK, red meat demand should remain firm through the summer."


- The Courier