Beef producers can expect strong prices

Beef producers can expect strong prices

There’s rarely been a greater need, in recent times, to focus on the fundamentals of Scottish farming, says Clydesdale Bank’s Iain Clark. Speaking ahead of today’s ANM Group’s calf spectacular, which is sponsored by Clydesdale Bank, he added that, despite the weather hit of the past few months, most individual businesses had sufficiently strong financial capacity to withstand current output / cost pressures.

Turning more specifically to the beef sector, the key focus of the ANM event, Mr Clark acknowledged the seeming inevitability that the 2012/13 winter would mean higher feed costs:  “Supply and demand is still in favour of beef producers, however, which suggest they can expect to continue to receive strong prices. There’s obviously something of a balancing act to be addressed on this issue if the whole Scottish meat chain is to fulfil its potential.”

Clark added: “Having an established premium brand of Scotch Beef continues to pay dividends for the industry.  It’s now the largest food & drink brand in the UK and is worth £247 million.  The fact that Scotland could be producing and exporting even more premium brand product, remains an enticing prospect.  It would be wrong not to recognise, however, that the short-term reality for many farm enterprises this year is disappointing with lower margins than expected in the Spring and lower than in a ‘more normal’ weather year.

“In such conditions, the challenge is always to seek the best results possible by managing the resources and factors which are within your control.  That means trying to counter the adverse weather and less favourable currency, which are outwith our control, and focusing on husbandry and management best practices, science and marketing as the building blocks towards a strong and sustainable future for the business.

“Scottish agriculture has made considerable strides in the last few years with new investment, increased output, improved management, the adoption of new ideas and opportunities such as renewable energy. Most businesses are therefore still very well placed to capitalise on the sectors fundamental strengths once the weather, and a few other factors, allow.”

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