Surge In Imports Leaves Red Meat Prices Unsustainable

UK - NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman Ed Rees said, “The price of finished beef cattle has levelled off in the last 12 months and lamb prices have suffered a sharp downturn in recent weeks, further hampering livestock farm incomes which are already the lowest in the industry.
calendar icon 14 June 2007
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We estimate that beef producers need at least an extra £1/kg to cover all costs and leave a small margin for re-investment whilst the price of finished lamb would need to increase by around 62p/kg to leave a lamb finisher with a meaningful profit.”

“In recent months we have repeatedly called on retailers not to turn their backs on home-reared beef and lamb in favour of cheaper imports, emphasizing the need to provide farmers with the correct market signals. British retailers and processors need to understand that in a world where support is decoupled from production, farmers must be profitable in order to sustain an important industry. This will be the message once again over the next few weeks when NFU senior officeholders meet with each of the major supermarkets.”

“Clearly, imports of New Zealand lamb have greatly contributed to the poor lamb trade and Board Members reacted very angrily towards the surge in New Zealand imports in the first half of the year - up 10% on the previous year.

The NFU has already met with the UK manager of Meat & Wool New Zealand and has bluntly said that the behaviour of some New Zealand exporters is suicidal for farmers not only in the UK, but also 12,000 miles away in New Zealand itself.” added Ed Rees.

Further meetings between the NFU and Meat & Wool New Zealand and importers will take place in the coming few weeks with NFU Cymru President, Dai Davies and Vice-President Ed Bailey having already met New Zealand representatives this week here in Wales.

Beef producers are operating in a far from level playing field with Brazilian beef still being exported to Europe despite there being no improvement in traceability and foot & mouth controls.

Ed Rees added, “The NFU was given assurances from a senior Commission official earlier this year that unless Brazil can demonstrate that they have taken positive steps to improve traceability and Foot and Mouth Disease control measures before the end of the year, the Commission will be forced to take action.

“The NFU met again last week with the Commission and again reinforced our concern that despite the closure of three predominant export states, Brazilian exports to Europe at the end of March were up nearly 20% on the previous year. The NFU is arguing that cattle are coming from the banned regions, getting new tags and then becoming eligible for export and that action by Europe is now long overdue.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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