15 October 1999

Trio add up to market muscle

THREE livestock groups have merged to form what is claimed to be one of the largest marketing groups in the country.

Meadow Valley Livestock Limited, AF Livestock and West Midlands Farmers Livestock will now trade as Meadow Valley Livestock group, which will have a turnover of at least £70m and about 4000 farmer members.

The group will handle over 750,000 pigs, 150,000 lambs and 40,000 cattle a year, says managing director, Oscar Prince. "It will have the marketing power and the ability to supply customers with large volumes of assured, traceable British livestock, while reducing marketing costs and other overheads."

While the move will help meet the needs of abattoirs, processors and retailers, it will also will help to match their increased power, he adds. "Farmers must take every chance by co-operating to get an increased share of the product value."

Meadow Valley has already established specialist markets for Hereford beef with one big retailer, is one of four marketing groups selling pigs to Glanbia, and has negotiated a deal with a baby food manufacturer to supply lambs. "We should now be able to develop more of these specialist markets," says Mr Prince.

All key livestock marketing field staff will be retained. Regional offices will remain at Preston and Melksham, and the headquarters at Stratford-upon-Avon. &#42