Sheep producer confidence improving, says QMS expert

Sheep producer confidence has improved despite the tough winter weather conditions, according to Quality Meat Scotland economic services head Stuart Ashworth.

Speaking at the Eblex/Bpex 2010 Outlook Conference, Ashworth said that margins were still wafer- thin, while policy implementation could still damage confidence in the longer term. However, in the shorter term, he added, basic supply and demand balance will remain in favour of suppliers and exchange rates will continue to favour UK producers.

Ashworth also added there was little reason for producer prices to fall and that improved farm-gate prices meant margins were improving for producers.

At same event, AHDB senior analyst Mark Topliff spoke on the UK beef sector where he concluded that total breeding cattle herds were still declining, but suckler cows numbers were stabilising.

Topliff added that prime cattle numbers will remain tight, exports were likely to remain firm and cattle supplies and the UK economic recovery will be factors in determining any changes in consumption.

>>UK sheep meat exports break £300m mark

>>UK cattle auction prices wiping out finisher profits

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