Heatwave could impact Christmas meat

Heatwave could impact Christmas meat

With the continuous heatwave in the UK, some meat producers have aired concerns about a possible low supply of meat in time for the Christmas period.

Some British farmers are having to send animals to slaughter early, with many cows in particular being sent for slaughter now rather than later on in the autumn.

The early slaughters caused by the heatwave could impact on Christmas as many households enjoy roast beef or lamb over the festive period.

Speaking to Sky News, Farmer Hugh Padfield said: “The dry summer has meant that the grass has really stopped growing.

“We are an organic farm so we typically see a drop off in the growth of grass in the summer but this year it really has been very dramatic.

“That has meant the milk yields have been down but we have then had to compensate for the lack of grass by feeding them winter silage.

“It is hard to know the exact impact in terms of food but for example there are a lot of cows being sent for slaughter now rather than later on in the autumn.”

Padfield explains the dry weather could mean he could start running out of silage in the late winter/early spring which he describes as ‘disastrous’.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) says lamb production is also being affected by the heatwave.

He commented: “The first thing we noticed was people sending lambs in for slaughter at slightly lighter weights than normal.

“The moment they’re running out of grass on the farm they market them earlier.”

Environment secretary Michael Gove is said to have ‘stepped up’ to reassure farmers that the Government will support them through the remaining hot weather.

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