15 October 1999

Markets must smooth the way

CHANGES in livestock markets to streamline the passage of stock from farm to processor are needed, warn industry leaders.

Speaking at an open meeting in Inverness last week, Brian Pack – chief executive of Aberdeen & Northern Marts – told producers they have to work closer with the meat industry to guarantee better returns.

Meat chief Richard Cracknell of Anglo Beef Producers says that requires fewer, larger marts to provide a more cost effective marketing service for finished stock. That would help cut transport charges faced by abattoirs collecting from a number of smaller markets.

Producers would also have to change their ways, argued the MLCs general secretary for Scotland, Alistair Donaldson. Margins are insufficient to allow an animal to be brought and sold several times between primary producer and the final market, he warned.

Some farmers answer to more pressure from the meat sector may be to go into marketing meat. But meat plant accounts show there is no fortune to be made, warned Mr Pack. &#42