The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) warned parliament that Scottish meat production is in a dire state. In an early November letter to MPs, Treasury of SAMW, Michael Moore, said that there is “widespread concern in rural communities over the potential effect of CAP reform in Scotland and that action needed to be taken.”
SAMW has combined resources with Quality Meat Scotland to provide analysis of the current livestock supply and what the current statistics mean for the future of the industry. McNaughton called for treatment outside the CAP regulations for the rest of the UK because of Scotland’s unique reliance on the agricultural industry.
He supported his letter with the following facts.
- 85 percent of Scotland’s lands are classified as a Less Favored Area (LFA). This compares to 16 percent in England and 81 percent in Wales.
- In Scotland, 79 percent of agricultural land is dedicated to grazing as opposed to 61 percent in the UK.
- Scotland has a much higher proportion of beef breeding cows than dairy cows. Beef breeds represent 72 percent of the breeding herd in Scotland. In England the ratio is 40 percent and in Wales the ratio is 46 percent.
- The typical suckler herd in Scotland consists of 49 cows and 262 ewes. In the UK, there are 27 cows for every 215 ewes.
The average Pillar payment in Scotland amounts to €130 per hectare. In the UK the average is €229 per hectare. In the EU, the average price per hectare is €268.
McNaughton told media that, “To continue to suggest that traditional market conditions will deliver sustainable food production in the vulnerable regions of the UK is naive to say the least. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to ensure that Scotland’s needs are met in the forthcoming EU negotiations.”
Scottish Farming Sector In Peril
Like all sectors of the economy, the Scottish farming industry is finding itself caught in a myriad of changes that do not bode well dot the region. The percentage of total agriculture output in Scotland is 24 percent from beef production and 10 percent from sheep production. In the UK, the percentage of agricultural output from beef production is 14 percent and 6 percent from sheep.
Scotland currently receives just 1 percent of the UK budget under the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme. McNaughton and the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers say this is an unsustainable level imposed by the CAP reform.
UK Meat Quality
Livestock quality is an issue which is fiercely debated in England, Wales and Nothern Ireland, as well as Scotland. Consumers demand higher quality meat than ever, whilst also desiring lower costs than ever. This puts tremendous pressure on meat suppliers across the UK. It has also created a niche market for high-end meat supply, with local farmers finding local restaurants and butchers prioritising locally sourced meat for their customers. The popularisation of locally sourced produce should help keep this trend going; it seems as though consumers do not mind paying more for their goods, if they know they have been supplied from a farm on their doorstep!
- Things to thank meat for: Our economy (deakinscicomm.wordpress.com)
- Locally Sourced Meat – The Pointer (thepointerbrill.co.uk)
- UK: Big freeze livestock death toll hits 100,000 (sott.net)