Sheep meat production to drop 4% in 2010
Sheep meat production is likely to fall to 294,000t by the end of 2010, a reduction of 4% on 305,000t on the previous year.
"The firm market position was primarily driven by a lack of old-season lamb carry-over, accompanied by a contraction of around 6% in both the breeding flock and overall sheep meat production,” said industry body Eblex in its report.
Culling rates are also predicted to remain high, at 16%. This, combined with a harsh winter should also lead to lower numbers, said Eblex.
Projections for later in the year show that the drop in numbers will flatten out, however. “The better marketing conditions of late, and a lower-than-originally-feared impact from the introduction of EID, could well slow the annual contraction in the breeding flock to nearer 2.5% by the end of 2010,” said Eblex senior analyst Mark Topliff.
Domestic consumption is forecast to decline to around 328,000t, potentially meaning stability in the marketplace, thanks to a near-correlation to rates of production.
Exports will slow slightly, less than the 9% growth in 2009, but holding up thanks to continued generic marketing activity and a weak pound compared to the euro forecast throughout 2010.
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