Sheep meat imports down in June

Sheep imports to the UK fell by 18% in June year-on-year, according to AHDB Beef & Lamb.

Despite the current strength of sterling making imports more competitive, AHDB revealed that high levels of domestic production and falling exports from New Zealand have also resulted in lower imports.

The production in the UK has been up in the first few months of the year, including June, explained Mark Kozlowski, senior analyst at AHDB Beef & Lamb.

Also, weve been exporting less recently. There has been more domestic product on the market.

At the start of the year we had more lamb carried over from last years lamb crop, which was a large one, and this year were expecting even more lambs to have been born.

Although lamb production levels in New Zealand have increased again in recent months, shipments were down 16% year-on-year in June at 5,200 tonnes (t).

Australia, who also imports lamb into the UK, saw volumes fall by 8% recently, whilst Ireland saw volumes decrease by a third.

This results in total sheep meat imports to the UK for the first half of the year at 4% lower than the same period in 2014.

Echoing Kozlowskis comments, the research released by AHDB Beef & Lamb claimed that UK sheep meat exports were down 30% in June. This can partly be attributed to the current situation in Calais disrupting shipments.

Exports to France fell by 13% at 3,700t. Meanwhile, shipments heading to Belgium and Ireland were both down by 40%. However, exports to Germany increased by a third.

Overall, sheep meat exports during the first six months of 2015 were down by 23% during the same period of last year.

Kozlowski added: According to our outlooks, weve said the lamb crop is going to be even larger or at least the same as last year, so were expecting production in the next six months to be up on the year.

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