Strong cattle prices a ‘mixed blessing’, says QMS

Strong store cattle prices are a mixed blessing for the red meat industry, Quality Meat Scotland’s (QMS) head of economic services Stuart Ashworth has said.

Although the continued strength of the store cattle market will be good for sellers, Ashworth noted the underlying reasons are of concern for the country’s ability to continue to build on a growing UK population and an improved economic outlook.

He said there was a 15% reduction in numbers of 12- to 18 month-old cattle sold during the past month, yet there had been a 12-15% increase in prices on last year.

“This reduction in volume may be larger than was perhaps expected, but is a reflection of the higher volumes sold earlier in the year as store producers faced slow grass growth and dwindling feed stocks in April and May. Nevertheless, it also reflects the reduced Scottish calf crop in 2012, particularly of beef-sired calves, a decline which gathered pace as 2012 progressed and which has continued into 2013,” he added.

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