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Scottish Red Meat Industry Contributes £2.1bn to Scotland’s Economy

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Scottish Red Meat Industry Contributes £2.1bn to Scotland’s Economy

October 21
20:07 2013
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The document also reveals that around 27,000 jobs were directly provided by the rearing of beef cattle, sheep and pigs, along with the primary processing sector. However, the challenges the industry has been facing are also evident in the new publication. Stuart Ashworth, Head of Economics Services, QMS said the Scottish suckler cattle herd decreased in size for a second year during 2012: ‘In 2012 the Scottish suckler herd was 1% smaller than in 2011, at 517,000 head. The increase in cow slaughterings will have contributed to the contraction of herd size,’ explained Mr Ashworth.

‘Having said that, the breeding ewe flock edged higher by 0.6%, taking numbers back above 2.8m head.’

 Meanwhile, further restructuring of the pig sector resulted in the sow herd contracting sharply for a second year, with sow numbers declining by 13% to 28,100 head. For a second year, beef production at a UK level slowed as the year progressed and producer prices for cattle moved sharply higher,’ he added.

‘Farm-gate lamb prices weakened significantly later in the year, despite the negative impact of wet weather on domestic production, as import volumes jumped. Pig prices finished 2012 on a strong footing, despite higher UK production.’

In real terms, cattle producers saw prices outstrip increased living costs for a second year, while there were more modest real term gains for pig farmers. By contrast, the average farm-gate lamb price fell by 8% in real terms.

‘Scottish red meat production in 2012 totalled 243,500 tonnes, a year-on-year decline of 21,400 tonnes, or 8%,” observed Mr Ashworth.

‘Looking at retail prices, beef averaged nearly 11% higher than the previous year, while pork was almost 7% more expensive. However, lamb prices averaged less than 2% higher, making it a more competitively priced protein.’

Annual use of red meat in the UK declined for a fifth year, with consumption down across all three species.


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The Scottish red meat industry contributed £2.1bn to the economy of Scotland in 2012, according to the Scottish Red Meat Industry Profile launched today last month by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)…

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