By FWi staff

MEADOW Valley Livestock Limited has reported its first trading loss in 1998 since its foundation in 1975 ending the year £35,000 down.

At its general meeting on Wednesday (5 May), the farmer-owned co-operative blamed this loss on unfavourable stock prices, which saw values of livestock traded decrease by 23.5% to £36.5 million in 1998.

Falling from £47.8m in 1997, this reduced total company reserves by 2.7%.

A spokesman from Meadow Valley described this decrease as a clear demonstration of the co-operative being an extension of its members own businesses.

But despite this downturn, the co-operative reported a substantial increase in the livestock marketed and growing membership, with 197 new members over the year.

Pig numbers were up 18% on 1997 at 450,000 head, while sheep numbers rose 10%, to 121,000 head. Cattle throughput inched 2.5% at 27,000 head.

In a keynote address, NFU president Ben Gill praised the commitment of Meadow Valleys producers and their Boards vision during what he described as the extremely difficult trading conditions of the past year.

The enthusiastic way in which the company responded to rapidly changing market requirements and addressed them was an example to the industry, he said.