Red meat sector to see ‘challenging’ autumn and winter

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Seasonal supply of livestock is expected to rise in the final quarter due to increased demand over the winter, but the current labour shortages in the red meat processing and transport sectors continue to remain a concern.

This is according to the latest market commentary from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), which says that Scottish meat processors and transporters are already experiencing staff shortages due to the stricter regulations for EU workers following Brexit.

Roughly half of the red meat processing sector’s workforce in Scotland is estimated to have originated outside the UK, and it is more challenging for businesses to recruit from abroad since leaving the single market.

Iain Macdonald, senior economist analyst at QMS said: “Labour shortages in processing businesses are of particular concern given that the seasonal supply of livestock usually rises in the final quarter of the year to meet increased red meat demand over the winter.

“There are also concerns around shortages of drivers to transport livestock and meat around the country.”

Data from Scottish auction marts for the past five years points to a lift of roughly 10% in prime lamb marketings between September and the three-week pre-Christmas peak in Scotland, and by around 20% in England & Wales.


by Farming UK

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