Scotch beef is likely to be scarce later in the year, as the livestock movement restrictions imposed as FMD measures will prevent many producers acquiring enough cattle for fattening. "A significant proportion of Scotland's finishing stock come in from other areas as store cattle," ANM chief executive Brian Pack pointed out. The inevitable effect would be continued price volatility, already causing serious problems for buyer and seller alike in a market where unfamiliar supply flows are causing unprecedented differentials. In theory, a rise in the value of Scotch beef resulting from the cattle scarcity predicted by Pack should be good news for ANM's farmer owners and perhaps even for the Scotch Premier operation, if not Yorkshire Premier, but sentiment within the group is surprisingly uneasy. "The current premium of Scotch beef over English is at least 10p, perhaps 12-15p," said Pack. "The industry works much better at between 5p and 8p." In place of the usual two tier market, ANM and the English buyers of its meat were having to operate in a three or even four tier market, due to the higher presence of Irish and continental beef. And in these conditions a shortage of Scotch product would cause painful dilemmas for traders. "There will be many disappointed customers for Scotch supplies in England," said Pack. {{M/E MEAT }}

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