SAMW raises concern about declining Scottish cattle numbers

The entrenched discount of cattle numbers in Scotland overshadows each different difficulty impacting the nation’s pink meat sector at current, says the Scottish Affiliation of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW).

Ian Bentley, president of the Scottish Affiliation of Meat Wholesalers.

SAMW president Ian Bentley mentioned that, even within the midst of hovering feed, gasoline and vitality prices, the regular decline in Scottish livestock numbers poses the primary risk to the way forward for the Scottish meat business.

Bentley defined: “Numbers have been falling for a minimum of the final 10 years, a discount which must be halted and reversed if we’re to have the kind of livestock-based future for which Scotland is famend and for which this week’s Royal Highland Present is our business’s annual celebration.

“Frankly, if cattle numbers hold dropping as they’ve completed in recent times, we’ll attain the purpose the place we received’t have enough crucial mass to maintain the variety of abattoirs which presently exist in Scotland. This might additionally threaten the very existence of the Scotch model, a hard-earned world standing which, as soon as misplaced, is not going to be straightforward to revive.

“We in all probability have two to a few years left, after which, if the decline in numbers has not been addressed, our business will shrink. This may influence everybody concerned, farmers, processors, retailers, and customers. 

“A decline in provide creates its personal momentum, in fact, forcing customers to look elsewhere for product and impacting everybody concerned within the production-to-retail course of. Consistency of provide is all the pieces within the trendy retail sector and if we are able to not assure to ship high quality produce when required, we’ll shortly lose our share of the home market.”

Assist from Scottish Authorities is required

In on the lookout for options to the present numbers’ decline, Bentley highlighted the necessity for the business, from farm-to-retail, to be afforded a extra supportive framework for cattle manufacturing than presently exists.

“Most of Scotland’s farmland is unsuitable for something aside from livestock grazing,” he mentioned. “Livestock presents essentially the most environment friendly approach of managing the nation’s land, enabling our business to supply a a lot sought-after, internationally famend, and high-quality supply of protein. That is one thing we’re superb at, as anybody who visits the Highland Present this week will recognise.

“What we’d like, nonetheless, is for Scottish Authorities to additionally recognise the significance of our business, which helps tens of 1000’s of livelihoods and produces an incredible vary of merchandise. We urgently want an agricultural coverage that focuses on manufacturing, backed by Authorities and its businesses working with us to guard and develop our pink meat sector.

“Authorities additionally must act now on the livestock decline difficulty to make sure now we have the cattle we’d like in three years’ time.

 “A pink meat chain which always feels beneath assault, merely due to its very existence, is much less prone to enhance manufacturing sooner or later than an business which is correctly appreciated and supported. 

“We’re working exhausting as farmers, processors, and retailers to embrace the challenges of our nation’s net-zero future. It’s not a course of we’re resisting, removed from it. We do want some encouragement, nonetheless, and we’d like it now. In any other case, the pink meat way forward for Scotland will endure the results, comparable to watching farmers in New Zealand and Australia rising their livestock enterprise by 10% over the subsequent few years whereas we are saying goodbye to ours. That can not be good for anybody who has the pursuits of Scottish meals and farming at coronary heart.”

Earlier / Subsequent posts…

Meat Administration writer Graham Yandell awarded MBE