Beef Premium

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th May 1989.

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Photo of Mr Colin Shepherd Mr Colin Shepherd , Hereford 12:00 am, 25th May 1989

Does my hon. Friend agree with the farming industry's opinion that, because of the decline in the national dairy herd of about 1·5 per cent. to 2 per cent. a year, we shall need an increase in the suckler cow herd of about 4 per cent. a year to meet the flow of beef required for the United Kingdom market? In the light of that, although the increase in the suckler cow premium to the maximum was welcome, is it possible that it will be insufficient to ensure that growth in the suckler herd? Will my hon. Friend carefully watch developments in the beef industry and ensure that growth is sustained so that United Kingdom producers can continue to supply their own present market shares and not be disadvantaged accordingly?