07 July 1998
Beef producers in limbo

By Robert Davies

THE beef industry will be in limbo until producers know the future of the Calf Processing Scheme, claims the UKs largest farmer-run production group.

Nigel Crowe, a director of the Meatgold Group and its chief rearing-calf buyer, says a calf price crash could follow the winding-up of the scheme. That is making it very difficult to plan ahead, and discouraging farmers from exploiting valuable support premiums.

He told farmers visiting the groups stand at the Royal Show that there could be a shortage of quality beef in 18 months time, but he acknowledged that rearers and finishers were wary about paying £70 for calves baby calves.

To ensure throughput, and to prepare for the lifting of the beef export ban, the group is offering a totally flexible beef management plans to farmers with empty buildings.

Notices on the stand emphasised the independence of the farmer run organisation compared to the producer clubs run by Tesco opposite.