MLC analysts reckon the Over Thirty Month Scheme will not be fully back on stream for many months and the delay will contribute to the likely drop in UK beef output from an estimated 619,000t this year to 590,000t in 2002. Older cattle trapped on farms will restrict the finishing of younger stock, but there is also regret at the diminishing prospect of the OTMS being phased out. It had been hoped the fading of BSE would persuade the authorities to raise the age limit steadily, increasing the supply of some high quality but slow growing cattle into the beef market. New safety fears due to FMD and BSE make that politically impossible. {{M/E MEAT }}