Future Proofing UK Livestock Production

UK - Experts from across agriculture debated the future of the livestock industry at Grassland & Muck’s headline seminar yesterday (18 May).
calendar icon 19 May 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

Creating efficiencies was a key theme running through the meeting, with panellists agreeing that producing more from less was key to a thriving meat and dairy market

Business expert Richard King, from Andersons, said: “The big challenge is profitability. One big factor in this is price – the prices that are out there at the moment aren’t sustainable. But there are some easy wins. For example, the UK isn’t self-sufficient in milk yet we’re exporting powdered milk.

“Fifty per cent of our red meat sold last year was in mince – is that what customers want or is that lazy retailing? It’s about educating the public, retailers and producers so the public knows to look for British because they know it’s best. It creates value for everyone in the supply chain.”

The NFU’s chief adviser on renewables, Jonathan Scurlock, spoke on how the industry was working together to reduce its impact on the environment through the Greenhouse Gas Action Plan, while Yara’s Mark Tucker explained the work done on carbon abatement.

“There’s a lot going on in the fertiliser sector,” Mr Tucker said. “For the past 10 years the industry has been clearing its carbon footprint. The industry has risen to the challenge of N2O abatement, now it’s up to farmers to choose the fertilisers.”

Eblex board member Mike Powley said he was positive that as supply tightened, farm gate prices for milk and meat would be driven up.

“We have seen the sheep meat market tighten and we have seen the prices going up. There will be a small tightening of supply in red meat and it will be interesting to see how retailers deal with that.”

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