Sheep and beef production expected to increase in 2016

Sheepmeat and beef production are both predicted to experience a year-on-year rise in 2016, according to Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Published in HCCs Market Bulletin, it was revealed that sheepmeat production was forecast to increase by 4% for the year.

Meanwhile, British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) data has suggested that calf registrations during 2015 were 3% higher than the previous year.

According to HCC, conditions over the past two years have been favourable for the lamb crop and while prospects for 2016 look reasonable, weather conditions during lambing season will have an impact. As a result, the lamb crop for 2016 is forecast to increase 1% on the previous year to 17.3 million head.

Meanwhile, cattle slaughterings in the UK for the year are predicted to increase 2% on the previous year to 1.96m head. Heavier prime cattle carcase weights were observed through 2015. HCC predicted that this would continue for the coming year as a result of low cereal prices and high feed availability. Beef and veal production is also expected to increase 2% on the previous year, to 902,000 tonnes (t).

Sheepmeat exports are looking to increase in line with production, due to favourable conditions. The expectation that sterling will remain weaker than the euro, compared to exchange rates in the latter part of 2015, will contribute to this.

Import volumes are forecast to be up on the previous year, with increased Irish beef production experiencing high demand throughout the year and the strength of the sterling against the euro making it competitively priced.

This will result in beef imports to the UK increasing 2% to 435,000t, with exports increasing 2% to 136,000t.

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