The European Commission’s latest outlook suggests a firm market for beef over the next seven years.

European beef production is forecast to decline 5%, or 450,000t by 2013, as a consequence of CAP reform, while consumption looks set to remain steady.

“It’s clear from the commission’s analysis there will be strong demand for red meat in Europe.

Imports of high quality beef are expected to rise by 200,000t by 2013, said NFU chief livestock adviser Peter King

“We all need to emphasise the benefits of British beef and lamb to consumers, so that British meat becomes their first choice.

We can never be the cheapest at producing beef and lamb, but we can be the best.”