Morrisons launches South West Shorthorn Beef Scheme

South West farmers finishing Beef Shorthorn-sired cattle will have the first-time opportunity from March 2021 to supply the Morrisons Shorthorn Beef Scheme and receive premiums of up to 30p/kg.

Due to the growing volumes of Shorthorn-sired cattle located in the Cornwall, Devon and Dorset area, a collection centre will be held once a month, to supply prime cattle into Woodheads Spalding abattoir. Transport will be arranged via Woodheads at a discounted fee.

Jessica Tomley, livestock buyer at Woodheads, Morrisons, said: “The Morrisons scheme currently sources cattle for kill on a weekly basis in central England and Scotland to supply the Shorthorn Beef brand throughout Morrisons stores across the UK.

“However, as the initiative is continuing to expand and build momentum, we are now actively looking for new farmers to join our producer group across the South West of England.



By Athwenna Irons / Devon Live

Dutch customs warn British meat traders to have correct animal health reports

Dutch customs officials are warning British importers to have all of their veterinary health certificates in order if they want to bring meat products into Europe as a non-European country.

The British Meat Processors Association has said that alongside five containers of British pork stuck in Holland for two weeks, a lorry carrying pork livers has been refused entry.

Under Dutch rules, the importers have 90 days to sort out the problem before the products need to be sent back to their homeland or destroyed.

The Dutch NVWA Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority denied reports that British pork is rotting in Rotterdam harbour due to not being allowed into the country, but said it might not now be fit for human consumption.

A spokesperson for the NVWA explained: ‘In the last period, a number of transports of carcasses from the UK have arrived in Rotterdam without the correct documentation. The correct documents then need to be made for them in the UK, and experience tells us that this correction can sometimes take longer than the use-by-date of these products. If that happens, unfortunately, these transports are no longer suitable for human consumption. But we are certainly not talking about rotten meat.’

All papers need to be in order before goods can enter the EU, a spokesman for the Dutch customs service added: ‘In the EU, veterinary papers always need to be present alongside the products. The customs service just checks if all papers are in order and if they are, then the goods can go through. But if certain papers are not in order, then they can’t.


Brazil’s JBS says China lifted pandemic-related bans on two meat plants

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil-based meatpacker JBS SA said on Wednesday China has lifted bans on two meat plants imposed in 2020 over coronavirus concerns.

The company said in a statement the lifting of the bans raised to 25 the total number of JBS plants in Brazil authorized to sell meat to China. JBS said no other of its Brazilian plants is currently restricted by China, the biggest buyer of Brazil’s meat exports.

The bans lifted concerned two JBS plants in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul. One is located in Três Passos and the other is in Passo Fundo, where the company produces pork and chicken products, respectively.

Both plants faced outbreaks of the novel coronavirus among employees last year, leading to production disruptions and ultimately the Chinese suspension.




by Ana Mano / Reuters

GB cattle prices increase across the board

The week ending 16 January saw all GB deadweight cattle prices record increases. The all-prime price rose 5.3p on the previous week to average 376.9p/kg. This measure is now 46p above the price achieved for the same week last year, and 33p above the five-year average.

Estimated prime cattle throughput for the week totalled 33,400 head, up 9.6% (2,900 head) on the week before.

Weekly prime cattle price movements for w/e 16 January:

  • All prime: 376.9p/kg up 5.3p
  • Steers (overall): 378.0p/kg up 5.4p
  • Steers (R4L): 387.0p/kg up 6.1p
  • Heifers (overall): 376.9p/kg up 4.6p
  • Young bulls (overall): 360.9p/kg up 6.9p

The GB deadweight average cull cow price also rose, up 8.6p for the week ending 16 January, to average 245.6p/kg. This now puts cull cow prices up 22p on the same week last year, and more than 28p above the five-year average. For those meeting the -O4L specification, prices averaged 260.4p/kg, up 4.0p on last week.

Cull cow throughput totalled 13,400 head, up nearly 20% (2,200 head) on the week before.



By Chris Gooderham / AHDB

Deadweight lamb prices climb again

In the week ending 16 January, the GB deadweight SQQ lamb price lifted again, jumping an impressive 50.2p to average 568.8p/kg. This is the highest price achieved in the last two years and puts the measure 114.1p above the same week last year.  

Estimated throughput for the week totalled 227,100 head, up 9,400 head (4%) on the previous week, but down 3,000 head (1%) on the same week last year.

The liveweight OSL SQQ price dropped back 11.09p on the previous week, averaging 254.33p/kg in the week ending 20 January. Prices are still up just under 42p when compared to the same week in 2020. Throughput at British auction markets for the week totalled 104,900 head, down 7,700 head (7%) on the previous week but little changed when compared to the same week last year.

Cull ewes averaged just under £81/head, £5 less than the previous week.



By Bronwyn Magee / AHDB

UK meat exports left rotting at ports due to ‘hellish’ paperwork

UK meat shipments have been left rotting at ports this week due to burdensome paperwork brought about by Brexit.

Though current trade volumes are just 20 per cent of normal levels as exporters ‘test’ the system, delays saw processors reject UK shipments and cancel future orders, sparking concern that UK meat exporters could face ‘serious and sustained losses’ if abandoned by European processors in favour of EU suppliers.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said members had already been told by EU customers that they would be looking to Spain and Ireland to purchase product.

But AHDB analyst Duncan Wyatt remained optimistic that short-term issues would not see a huge shift away from British meat.

Responding to the disruption, Farming Minister Victoria Prentis acknowledged the customs forms were ‘hellish’, but added they could not be removed as they were an EU requirement.

She told a National Sheep Association meeting this week that the UK Government was doing all it could to smooth the process.

She said: “We have had very granular discussions with the French, the Irish and the Dutch in particular over the past few weeks about whether they require blue or red ink and whether each individual page should be stamped.”

Mr Allen called for the customs and certification system to be digitised, branding the existing paper-based system ‘a relic from the last century’.



by Hannah Binns / Farmers Guardian

Brexit: Lamb exporter to EU ‘making virtually nothing’

One of Wales’ largest lamb exporters says the extra cost and paperwork of selling meat into the EU means it is making “virtually nothing”.

Meat processing plant Randall Parker Foods in Llanidloes, Powys, warned it may lose a third of its 150 workers unless new border controls change.

The company processes one million lambs a year, half of which are exported to the European Union.

The UK government said they are working to help exporters with the new rules.

Randall Parker Food’s general manager Dale Williams said the UK’s new post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU “means extra cost, tying someone up all day to do the paperwork for one vehicle”.

“If there’s multiple products it can take hours per product because we have to send the documents off to be verified before we can release the vehicle to go on its journey,” he said.

“As it stands today we’re operating for virtually nothing. We’re doing it for the sake of keeping the doors open at the moment.”

Some staff have already been furloughed and Mr Williams fears he could lose a third of his business “which will make the company seriously unviable”.

“If the export paperwork and documentation and controls either side of the border continue, I think we will have to make redundancies,” he said.

Farmers Fresh – a co-operative of 2,700 farmers which has a plant in Wrexham – has been exporting to the EU for 20 years.

Three-quarters of the one million sheep they process are for EU customers – and director Mike Gooding said trading with the EU was now like “being a salmon swimming up river”.

“It’s not helped because the rules and regulations are not clear and there is inconsistent interpretations of those rules,” he said.

Mr Gooding added there was strong demand for Welsh lamb in Europe but problems now are “a result of interfering with a system that was working fine and imposing on it a system that is not fit for purpose”.

He said that his company has looked at new markets around the world, but in most cases New Zealand is already exporting lamb there.

“Simply turning up and waving our flag and trying to establish our credentials is not a guaranteeing trade in other parts of the world,” Mr Gooding said.

“We are dealing with reams and reams of paperwork. The electronic systems, the databases need to be properly installed and properly defined.”

The UK Government acknowledged they are “aware of a small number of issues” since 1 January but added “overall businesses are adjusting well” to the new rules and said trade “continues to flow smoothly”.

“Our agri-food industry is vital, and we want to help businesses take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead,” the UK Government spokesperson said.

“We are working closely with exporters to help them understand the new requirements.”




By Sarah Dickins / BBC Wales 

Brits turning away from meat-free diets, retail analysis shows

The proportion of British adults cutting meat from their diet dropped significantly in 2020, according to new research.

Data on retail sales from analysts Mintel explained that the pandemic proved to be a ‘temporary setback’ for plant-based products.

The number of Brits actively reducing and not eating meat in their diet has reduced from half (51%) of all consumers in 2019 down to four in ten (41%) during 2020.

Meanwhile, in search of familiar foods, sales of meat products have skyrocketed by 18% during 2020.

Breakfast and barbecue favourites, bacon (+18%), sausages (+20%) and burgers (+26%), all benefited from the rise in scratch cooking and shift towards eating at home.

Increased rates of homeworking have been driving a rise in sales of cooked sliced meat, such as ham, which rose 9% in 2020.

And having been in decline for a number of years, stockpiling of canned meat led to a resurgence in sales – up 22% in 2020.

This comes as 58% of meat eaters say that meals that contain processed meat products are comforting.

Edward Bergen, Mintel’s food and drink analyst, said disruption and uncertainty had caused a ‘relaxation’ around some eating habits among many people.

“It is not surprising that meat reduction has taken a temporary back seat, particularly given the increased desirability of familiar comfort food and meat is seen to really deliver here.



by Farming UK

Cheap German product contributes to rise in UK pork imports volumes

UK pork import volumes towards the end of last year, due partly to the availability of cheap German product, while COVID-19 issues hit export volumes. 

UK pig meat exports, including offal, fell by 15% (5,700 tonnes) on the previous month in November 2020 and were down 8% (2,600 tonnes) on the same month last year. In contrast, UK pig meat imports increased by 9% (6,400 tonnes) during the month and were 2% (1,500 tonnes) up on the same month last year.

The value of pig meat (inc offal) imports increased by 7% to total £208 million during November. This was slightly behind the increases seen in volumes, which indicates a reduction in price. This is unsurprising given that German pork is particularly price competitive, due to an oversupplied market, and low domestic pig prices in Germany following its ASF outbreak, AHDB analyst Charlie Reeve said.

The value of total UK exports went down 15% to £54 million in November compared to a year ago. The is likely to be because of less product availability, due to Covid-19 related difficulties at some processing facilities, Mr Reeve said.

The value of exports to the UK’s largest export destination China dropped back slightly on the previous month in line a decrease in volume, although prices paid in the region remain fairly strong.



by Alistair Driver / Pig World

Domestic demand and NZ imports dip supports lamb prices

Lamb prices have reached the ‘unprecedented position’ of being higher than the start of the marketing season last year, as they continue to rise both at auction marts and deadweight.

High domestic demand and smaller amounts of New Zealand lamb have boosted prices.

And despite chaos at the ports, UK lamb was still in demand on the continent following the last minute Brexit deal.

Sedgemoor auctioneer Paul Ashton said the trade for finished lambs was at an unprecedented level going into 2021, as Sedgemoor Auction Centre’s sheep sales passed the three million mark this month.

“The export demand is currently very strong, having a signed deal has ensured no tariffs on British lamb and this has massively helped the sheep market,” he said.


by Alex Black / Farmers Guardian