Most farmers not cutting their production capacity Abundant meat supply picture forecast by MLC Retailers and processors can probably look forward to another year of abundant meat supplies. Contrary to predictions by agricultural leaders, most farmers are not reducing production capacity sharply in response to the more competitive prices now prevailing in parts of the livestock market. Generally favourable prospects are indicated by new forecasts published in the latest issues of MLC's Market Outlook bulletins for cattle, sheep and pigs. Contraction of the pig breeding herd is seen as likely to squeeze pork production further, but the resilience of bacon, lamb and beef output should keep next year's total meat tonnage close to the volumes available in 1998 and 1999. "Historically low levels of pigmeat production are forecast for the year 2000 in the UK," according to the MLC analysts. However, they believe "relatively plentiful" supplies on the continent will limit price increases, at least in the first half of the year. Yet even UK pigmeat output is now predicted to decline by less than previously expected. Home produced pork volume will shrink from 822,000 tonnes to 785,000t, not to the 767,000t predicted earlier. Forecast changes in UK production from 239,000t in the current year to 235,000t in 2000 for bacon, from 358,000t to 354,000t for sheepmeat and from 669,000t to 685,000t for beef, together with slight increases in beef and pork imports, will mean a reduction of less than 2% in total meat volume available in the marketplace. {{MEAT }}