Exporters step back from markets due to border chaos

Auction markets were expecting to feel the impact of border closures at sheep sales this week as demand drops for export weight lambs.

On Sunday (December 20), France shut its border with the UK for 48 hours, meaning no lorries or ferries will sail from the port of Dover.

Ted Ogden, auctioneer at Skipton, said there would be demand for lambs to serve the domestic market but several export focused companies had told them they would no longer require the class of lamb for export.

“We still require sheep. The sales are still going ahead,” he said.

“But people need to know that their expectations may need to change and make their own decisions. Informing them is part of our job as auctioneers. If buyers are wanting more of those lambs we tell them so it seemed right we communicate this.”

 

 

by Alex Black

 

 

China trade bans spread to big lamb exporters

Chinese trade sanctions have spread to lamb with two of Australia’s biggest exporters effectively banned from the industry’s biggest market.

China is refusing to accept sheep meat from Australian Lamb Company and JBS Brooklyn after they were closed for short periods because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

The lamb and sheepmeat trade with China – worth almost $780 million in 2019-20 – joins beef, barley, wine, seafood, timber and coal on the growing list of Australian commodities targeted as relations between Beijing and the Morrison government continue to deteriorate.

Those relations hit a low last week when a senior Chinese official circulated a doctored image of an Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan boy holding a lamb.

The Australian Lamb Company, which employs about 600 people at Colac, and the JBS Brooklyn plant near Port Melbourne have been reopened for months with no infections but remain shut out of China.

China has not imposed import sanctions on United States abattoirs hit by COVID-19 and is reopening to abattoirs in countries such as Brazil and Argentina which have high rates of infection.

 

 

by Brad Thompson

Brexit: Lambs to the slaughter

  • Brexit talks have been passed back to negotiators, with little sign of progress from the UK and EU leadership, and with no deal getting worryingly close for exporters.
  • Sheep meat is one sector facing particularly high tariffs – put there to protect British and other European farmers, but now the UK will be outside the EU fortress.
  • Even with a tariff-free deal, there will be high extra costs for animal produce going to Europe, involving certification, queues and border checks.

Remember spring? If you were lucky enough to get out to somewhere rural, you probably saw some cute lambs a-gambolling.

Well, it’s not looking good for them now. They’ve put on some weight, and are less cute. Or they were. This has been the slaughtering season.

About a third of Scottish lamb goes for export, and 98% of that is to the European Union. French chefs highly value uplands-grazed lamb.

There’s a metaphor somewhere in there for the Brexit talks.

But for sheep farmers, this isn’t metaphor. This is their future. The average tariff on sheep meat is 48%. It is not a flat rate: instead, there’s a fee per kilo and a percentage of the value.

And the more it is butchered and processed, the higher the tariff on entering the European Union.

by Douglas Fraser