Shortening/simplification of supply chains

Macsky

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
Through the rush to stock up a while ago there was significant weaknesses exposed in the supermarket supply chains. The smaller outlets such as local butchers seemed far more able to adapt and cope with the increased demand.

This area has been crying out for a local slaughterhouse for decades (5 hour round trip to the nearest atm), with plenty of support from various groups, but always falling short of becoming a reality in the financial side of things.

What are the chances that more local supply chains will be incentivised in the future?
 

Macsky

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
Maybe there will be opportunities to ‘not let the crisis go to waste’ in this regard, in the wake of serious supply chain issues, especially the likes of this across the pond at the moment, the powers that be may be softened up to allow some leeway in the rules for smaller plants. It would need a fair bit of weight to see it through, but the idea lines up very well with all the lip service that is paid by politicians to production standards, animal welfare, reducing food miles, eating local, supporting rural communities etc etc
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
Maybe there will be opportunities to ‘not let the crisis go to waste’ in this regard, in the wake of serious supply chain issues, especially the likes of this across the pond at the moment, the powers that be may be softened up to allow some leeway in the rules for smaller plants. It would need a fair bit of weight to see it through, but the idea lines up very well with all the lip service that is paid by politicians to production standards, animal welfare, reducing food miles, eating local, supporting rural communities etc etc

The issue is as you have identified, it's all lip service.

Why should smaller plants have less onerous rules to large ones? Try and apply that to any other industry.
 
Location
southwest
Through the rush to stock up a while ago there was significant weaknesses exposed in the supermarket supply chains. The smaller outlets such as local butchers seemed far more able to adapt and cope with the increased demand.

This area has been crying out for a local slaughterhouse for decades (5 hour round trip to the nearest atm), with plenty of support from various groups, but always falling short of becoming a reality in the financial side of things.

What are the chances that more local supply chains will be incentivised in the future?

Supermarkets don't carry much stock, perhaps a day or two on things like Dairy, so a doubling of demand can soon wipe them out. They don't have the space to carry much stock relative to sales. Even a smallish supermarket will have two or three artics a day from their Distribution hub, plus one for bread, one for Dairy. Not unusual in the run up to Christmas to see goods left in temporary marquees or even outside in yard areas.

The bottle neck is likely to be transport. Companies can't afford to have trucks and staff idle just in case there may be a sudden increase in demand. UK is short of HGV drivers anyway.

If the local butchers are coping with increased demand, where are they sourcing supplies?

TBH I can't see much changing in the future. The UK seems to have coped better than some other Countries (look on the Pigs & Poultry Forum) and this is a Once in a Century event.
 

Macsky

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
What are the specific rules that large plants have to meet that smaller plants couldn’t? A vet present would be one I suppose.
 

delilah

Member
What are the chances that more local supply chains will be incentivised in the future?

To answer your question: Greater if you work with the environmental movement than go it alone.

The environmental imperative to shorten the supply chain is greater than the economic one.
UK ag should campaign with the environment movement, on the platform of reducing pollution. An increased proportion of the retail price finding its way back to the primary producer would be a fortuitous side effect.

https://thefarmingforum.co.uk/index.php?threads/tescorona.313517/
 

Guleesh

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Isle of Skye
Are small scale slaughterhouses, even if made financially viable through a form of subsidisation really going to make any difference in areas like the highlands where livestock outnumber people? Great for getting a handful of lambs and the odd pig supplied to the local restaurants, but does that do anything for the majority of commercial farmers and crofters?

A closer to hand large scale abattoir and butchery with capacity to buy and distribute to rest of UK and beyond, that could deal with the quantities the highlands could provide would be more along the lines of what i'd like to see, as it could make it viable for more of us to finish our own livestock rather than being at the mercy of seasonal store sales.

I'd like to see a local slaughterhouse as much as anyone, and i'm sure one or two niche businesses could increase profitability through it, but I doubt it will do much for the overall livestock industry here, as producers, we can't all provide meat for local businesses.
 

Macsky

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
Are small scale slaughterhouses, even if made financially viable through a form of subsidisation really going to make any difference in areas like the highlands where livestock outnumber people? Great for getting a handful of lambs and the odd pig supplied to the local restaurants, but does that do anything for the majority of commercial farmers and crofters?

A closer to hand large scale abattoir and butchery with capacity to buy and distribute to rest of UK and beyond, that could deal with the quantities the highlands could provide would be more along the lines of what i'd like to see, as it could make it viable for more of us to finish our own livestock rather than being at the mercy of seasonal store sales.

I'd like to see a local slaughterhouse as much as anyone, and i'm sure one or two niche businesses could increase profitability through it, but I doubt it will do much for the overall livestock industry here, as producers, we can't all provide meat for local businesses.

Closer to hand is either going to be the middle of nowhere, or right here. There was a huge demand for meat when the tourism was in full flow for the last few years, I’m sure it will return one way or another.
 

Guleesh

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Isle of Skye
Closer to hand is either going to be the middle of nowhere, or right here. There was a huge demand for meat when the tourism was in full flow for the last few years, I’m sure it will return one way or another.
It's not enough demand to take thousands of lambs annually, As it is many of the lambs that we sell as stores destined for finishing in Scotland end up being processed in places like Birmingham at halal slaughterhouses.
 

delilah

Member
we can't all provide meat for local businesses.

'local' doesn't have to mean 'small'.
We can (I would argue must) reverse the concentration of market share. That doesn't mean a return to sawdust on the floor butchers shops. It means more local and regional stores - what the public call the supermarket - with genuine competition and choice for farmers and consumers. Booths took a pounding on here recently, which is ironic because in many ways they represent what a more sustainable supply chain would look like.
https://www.booths.co.uk/
 

Macsky

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
It's not enough demand to take thousands of lambs annually, As it is many of the lambs that we sell as stores destined for finishing in Scotland end up being processed in places like Birmingham at halal slaughterhouses.
No not at all, but these lambs are only there to meet subsidy requirements, that could all change soon. Places could easily keep less sheep, finish more, be butchered locally and be marketed across the whole country and abroad, branding is ever more important as folk paying premium prices for food demand to know where it has come from.
 
The issue is as you have identified, it's all lip service.

Why should smaller plants have less onerous rules to large ones? Try and apply that to any other industry.
They used to. Before the most recent EU hygiene rules were introduced, low throughput premises had slightly lesser requirements which made it easier for small premises to comply. Currently, some small abattoirs operate a 'cold inspection' regime. A vet still needs to check the stock but that can be a flying visit. A meat inspector can then inspect the carcasses and offal later in the day. Some vet visits will still be necessary to check welfare at slaughter, check hygiene practices, inspect paperwork etc.
 

Guleesh

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Isle of Skye
'local' doesn't have to mean 'small'.
We can (I would argue must) reverse the concentration of market share. That doesn't mean a return to sawdust on the floor butchers shops. It means more local and regional stores - what the public call the supermarket - with genuine competition and choice for farmers and consumers. Booths took a pounding on here recently, which is ironic because in many ways they represent what a more sustainable supply chain would look like.
https://www.booths.co.uk/

Completely agree but areas like Highlands and Islands really need to continue to 'export' our produce out of here to markets big enough to consume it, I'd like to see the whole process done here and contributing to our already fragile economy, we still need it to go somewhere though, but better if it was already dead and butchered rather than having lambs born on a Hebridean island in the spring being slaughtered in Birmingham in the autumn- with all the middle men along the way making more out of it for their time than the primary producer.
No not at all, but these lambs are only there to meet subsidy requirements, that could all change soon. Places could easily keep less sheep, finish more, be butchered locally and be marketed across the whole country and abroad, branding is ever more important as folk paying premium prices for food demand to know where it has come from.

True, if subsidy changes drastically enough plenty more hills will be void of sheep, but I think the remaining places will survive by improved efficiency-keeping more sheep, growing and working at increasing small margins.
The culture of subsidy appears to have left many UK livestock farms living in the past and unable to compete in the global market we're subjected to.

Hopefully the trend towards premium priced food continues, but I wouldn't want to be relying on it, especially with the economy we have to look forward to post covid19.
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
The issue is as you have identified, it's all lip service.

Why should smaller plants have less onerous rules to large ones? Try and apply that to any other industry.
Theres nothing wrong with the meat and hygiene rules and yes of course it should be the
Same rules for all
Regardless of that , give a grant or a sub. To encourage/ help smaller ones survive/ thrive.


some of farmers subsidy could go towards it like happens with the environmental hive off.
 

Macsky

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Highland
True, if subsidy changes drastically enough plenty more hills will be void of sheep, but I think the remaining places will survive by improved efficiency-keeping more sheep, growing and working at increasing small margins.
The culture of subsidy appears to have left many UK livestock farms living in the past and unable to compete in the global market we're subjected to.

Hopefully the trend towards premium priced food continues, but I wouldn't want to be relying on it, especially with the economy we have to look forward to post covid19.
Subsidies have been an essential support for livestock farming in the highlands, but the ways they have been dished out has done very little for innovation and soil health/fertility, it could be very different if it was better targeted at these production efficiencies. Incentives for handling facilities/housing/lime/drainage/reseeds etc would make a huge difference to those who cannot access cags grant money. In fact maybe that is the solution, open up cags to small farms in LFA 2&3
 

delilah

Member
Hopefully the trend towards premium priced food continues, but I wouldn't want to be relying on it, especially with the economy we have to look forward to post covid19

'local' doesn't mean 'expensive', it just means the primary producer getting more of the retail price due to their being less links in the chain all needing their cut.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
What are the specific rules that large plants have to meet that smaller plants couldn’t? A vet present would be one I suppose.
The one that killed many small plants in the UK was when the UK government decided that all abbatoirs had to meet the export regs. On the continent those who've no intention to export don't have to. That saves them quite a bit of cost.
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
'local' doesn't have to mean 'small'.
We can (I would argue must) reverse the concentration of market share. That doesn't mean a return to sawdust on the floor butchers shops. It means more local and regional stores - what the public call the supermarket - with genuine competition and choice for farmers and consumers. Booths took a pounding on here recently, which is ironic because in many ways they represent what a more sustainable supply chain would look like.
https://www.booths.co.uk/
Supplier/ customer relationship is important both ways and much more so in a local situation,

Local or relatively is the point so that killing can occur without long distance livestock haulage
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



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