Processing prospects disappoint Next year's UK beef output will exceed the 1999 volume, but the MLC forecasters are no longer promising a dramatic production surge. One reason is a disappointing uptake of calves for fattening to supply the manufacturing meat market. Abolition of the subsidised disposal scheme three months ago was expected to result in at least 300,000 calves being taken on to finishing weights. The prospect was welcomed by most processors, because the rundown of intervention stocks threatened a shortage of home-produced meat product manufacturing raw material. But after initial signs of enthusiasm, estimates of the number likely to be finished for beef are dropping towards 200,000. {{MEAT }}