Scheme to take out capacity will be vital Forecasts of very low slaughter rates for cattle and lambs during the next couple of years make it inevitable there will soon be renewed demands for the government to help finance restructuring. The Over Thirty Month Scheme and more recently the FMD culling have artificially boosted plant throughputs, sometimes quite lucratively. But now the downturn in commercial livestock availability is about to become so severe it will no longer be possible for the various culling schemes to plug the throughput gaps, and some formal scheme for taking out capacity will become essential. Yet identifying the surplus capacity is both difficult and a politically sensitive issue. Major processors tend to point at the smaller independent operators as unviable in the long run, being unable to absorb the increased unit costs of feed safety regulation, while farming and consumer lobbyists want more little plants in the interests of shorter supply chains and the encouragement of localised sourcing by the supermarkets. {{MEAT }}

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