Construction work on a new state-of-the-art abattoir in the north-east will begin in October.
According to the chairman of Scotland’s largest meat processing firm – J.W. Galloway – work will begin on building Scotbeef Inverurie’s new plant at the Thainstone Centre later this year, with completion expected in October 2016.
Addressing farmers at Scotland’s Beef Event at Blairgowrie, Ian Galloway said the plant would be more efficient than the existing premises in Inverurie.
He said the plant would be similar to the company’s abattoir at Bridge of Allan, although not as large, and space would be available to allow for expansion in the future.
Scotbeef Inverurie is a joint venture between J.W. Galloway, which processes around 110,000 cattle and 750,000 lambs a year, and north-east farmers’ co-operative ANM Group.
Mr Galloway also revealed that the company was preparing for inspections from the US Department of Agriculture (Usda) to enable it to export to America in the future.
He said gaining Usda approval would also help open up other export markets as the certification process was so stringent.
Export trade was down by a third this year and it was costing the company an extra 22p a kilo to export due to the strong rate of sterling, added Mr Galloway.
Looking ahead, he said farmers needed to focus more on producing more consistent cattle.
Rather than going for the extra weight, producers were urged to produce for the market at the right time.
As an example, Scotbeef data showed that producing an O grade beast took 48 days longer and killed out at 30kg less than a U grade beast, added Mr Galloway.
Scotbeef buyer Bill MacKinnon said: “The industry does not want big cattle. Why can’t we get a proportion of our spring calving cattle finished quicker? It helps us as an industry if we can get cattle in October, November and December. The biggest retail demand is in the summer up to Christmas.”