Sheep industry taught the importance of adding value

Members of the sheep production community learnt about the vitality of adding value by maximising the marketplace at an industry seminar held at the recent National Sheep Association (NSA) event in Malvern.

Delegates heard that finding ways to improve efficiency in farming practices and adding value to the finished product is important to increase returns and sustainability. It is particularly pivotal in the face of market volatility.

“A number of factors are currently affecting the red meat sector; these include the impact of exchange rate and the demand for lamb in export markets, UK red meat sales and consumption levels, and the costs associated with processing fifth quarter products and skin prices,” said John Richards, industry information executive at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), who joined a panel of experts at the event.

“The ability to respond and react to market fluctuation and changes ultimately decides a business’s sustainability and long-term viability and this is true for the sheep sector; at a farm level this could be achieved by adding value to prime lamb and making a conscious effort to meet market and consumer requirements.”

HCC outlined its top tips for adding value to prime lamb at farm level. They are:
•    To ensure lambs meet market requirements
•    To produce and market lambs to a consistent quality
•    Control costs in order to increase margins

“Extending the shelf life of lamb would also bring added returns to the supply chain,” added Richards.

“As it stands, the average shelf life for Welsh Lamb is 21 days, compared with New Zealand lamb’s shelf life of 70 days. HCC is pursuing the issue of shelf life as it is vital for increasing the market value and export potential of PGI Welsh Lamb.”

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