UK SHEEP meat exports fell in the first six months of the year but there was better news for overseas sales of cuts and offal.
Eblex said that focusing on cuts not carcasses paid dividends, with export volumes of cuts rising in the nine month period. Sheep meat cuts now account for 26% of total export volumes, compared with only 22% in the corresponding period last year.
Eblex market specialist, Paul Heyhoe said: “While the overall volume of sheep meat exports in the first nine months of the year has fallen, largely driven by the drop in production, it has disguised some of the trends in the UK’s export performance.
“One of the key developments continues to be the ‘cuts not carcass’ approach. In contrast the positive figures for exports of bone-in and boneless cuts speak for themselves which is very encouraging.”
And strong demand has helped push exports of sheep meat offal up to the £3.5m mark despite lower production. UK exports of sheep meat offal were up almost a third to 2,900 tonnes, even though domestic production fell by 5% as a result of 6% fewer sheep being slaughtered.
The average unit value has also increased significantly so far this year. At more than £1,200 per tonne, the average unit value of offal exports has grown by 9% on the year.
Mr Heyhoe said: “With considerable growth in volumes and the stronger prices being received, the overall value of sheep meat offal exports has risen by 44% on the year to total £3.5m.
“As such, offal exports are providing a welcome boost at a time when lower domestic sheep meat production is limiting lamb export volumes.”
Meanwhile, the International Meat Market Review, which is usually published in hard copy twice a year, is now being put online.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) market intelligence team is providing the information on the beef and lamb, plus pork sector websites. The levy board’s new family of country reports have already begun to appear on the Bpex website, which shows producers statistical information on the major pork trading nations.
And similar reports will be available for beef and sheep farmers on the Eblex website by the end of the year.
Michael Archer, head of market specialists in the AHDB market intelligence team, said: “By moving this kind of market information online, these country reports can be constantly updated as and when information becomes available, providing levy payers and stakeholders with a more dynamic, readily accessible service than was previously offered by the print publication.
“Hopefully, by continuing to put the right knowledge at the fingertips of levy payers, we can help them maximise the value they can achieve from export markets.”