THE IMPENDING changes to the rules governing Scotch beef is likely to lead to two-tier pricing for beef cattle.

All cattle sold under the Scotch label will have to be born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland.

Ralph Green, managing director of McIntosh Donald, which handles about 17% of the Scottish kill, says the decision to tighten the rules will strengthen the integrity of the Scotch beef brand.

“But it also has the capability to create supply difficulties for the meat industry in the short-term,” he said in the company‘s latest newsletter.

“The inevitable consequence of the decision to tighten the criteria for Scotch beef will be the creation of a price differential between the genuinely Scotch product and cattle bred in England or Wales, even if they are reared in Scotland.

“Beef from these cattle in our case will have to be sold as British, which clearly commands a lower price level than Scotch,” said Mr Green.

Producers should be under no illusion that this price differential is real and must be taken into account when they buy store cattle.