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Scotland's lost potential of livestock 'waste'

by 5m Editor
11 July 2007, at 5:30am

UK - THE drive to increase the production of energy from renewable sources has failed to harness the potential of two valuable by-products of the livestock industry - tallow and meat-and-bone meal.

Speaking at an executive meeting of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers in Perth, president Allan Jess called for a reappraisal of the situation which has persisted ever since the BSE crisis of 1996.

He said: "The burning of tallow and meat-and-bone meal for environmentally friendly energy generation has remained embroiled in EU legislation for far too long. The definition of these products as 'waste' rather than 'products' has denied the renewable energy sector access to a ready supply of raw materials and removed valuable income from the livestock chain.

"Given that the scientific case for preventing these items being burnt in this way no longer exists, it's surely time to secure a breakthrough for both of these products."

The drive towards using farm crops as an energy source is escalating and a recent EU report suggested that maize prices are likely to increase by 50 per cent over the next two years while the value of wheat will rise by at least 40 per cent.

This trend will lead to much higher feed costs for the livestock sector. In addition trade sources claim that sales of grass seed are much reduced this year. That indicates that a smaller area of cereals has been under-sown. In addition, the almost certain ending of compulsory set-aside next year is likely to see more arable crops being grown throughout the EU.

There are some early indications of a downturn in livestock numbers in the US because feedlot operators are increasingly questioning the economics of high-cost grain rations to finish cattle. In the EU livestock numbers are also on the slide with beef prices in some member states up to 20 per cent lower than a year ago.

Source: Scotsman

5m Editor