Search for best price farmers told

Livestock producers should not allow their quality stock to be sold short in what is clearly a robust market, the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) warned yesterday.

Despite talk of increased lamb import penetration, soft export markets as a result of the strength of sterling and ongoing availability of old season lamb, there is still clearly a healthy demand for home-produced lamb meeting market specifications, it said.

Retail sales figures show UK fresh and frozen lamb sales for the first quarter (12 weeks to 25 March 2007) were up by 10% compared to the same period in 2006. Conversely, UK lamb production (slaughterings) were down by 10% over the January to March period compared to 2006.

EBLEX chairman John Cross said: "Figures clearly show the home market for lamb is robust, UK lamb is not in an oversupply situation, and the export markets - although difficult - are still taking a good volume of product, currently around 30 per cent of UK production. So there is no reason for anything other than a healthy UK lamb market - and producers shouldn't sell themselves short.

"The same advice holds true for beef producers, particularly when MLC is now forecasting a tightening of home-produced beef supplies as this year progresses."

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