Difficult year for beef and lamb in 2015, according to industry yearbook

The beef and lamb sectors were faced with challenging times in 2015, according to the latest edition of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Beef & Lamb Cattle and Sheep Yearbook.

The publication is designed to give a broad overlook of the market by gathering information on production and exports for farmers, auction markets, processors, retailers and other stakeholders.

According to the levy board, the strength of the sterling against the euro impacted on imports and exports in the beef and veal trade, while in the sheep sector, high levels of production and challenging export conditions lead to low prices. Demand for sheepmeat in traditional markets appeared to be falling, although they rose in developing countries.

There was a positive move away from exporting cow carcases towards higher-priced cuts, which make full use of the carcase and maximise returns for the whole supply chain.

Meanwhile, in the sheep market, AHDB Beef & Lamb said the UK was in a good position to take advantage of expected supply constraints from New Zealand. This was emphasised by the weakening of the sterling against the euro, which will make UK products more competitive on the European market.

Statistics on livestock numbers, consumption, slaughterings, auction markets, abattoirs, livestock and meat prices, and carcase classification were also included within the yearbook.

The Cattle and Sheep Yearbook is a valuable tool for beef and sheep farmers, as well as other industry stakeholders, providing information they need to support business decisions, commented Martin Doherty, data and analysis manager for AHDB.

It gives insight into key industry trends and statistics for 2015 and is an important reference point for the industry.

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