Love lamb week returns with ‘naturally delicious’ theme

The annual week-long celebration of UK lamb will be returning next month for an eighth year, with sheep producers set to shine a light on the sustainability of their sector.

Love Lamb Week, running from 1-7 September, aims to remind consumers of the taste and quality that UK lamb brings to the dinner table.

The popular initiative will focus on how lamb is ‘naturally delicious’ and due to the country’s climate and landscape, with plenty of rainfall and grass, the UK is an ideal place to produce lamb sustainably.

As in previous years, the industry-wide initiative is supported by groups such as AHDB, Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), Quality Meat Scotland and LMC in Northern Ireland, among others.

AHDB Head of Marketing, Carrie McDermid said: “We are delighted to be supporting Love Lamb Week for an eighth year.

“It provides us all with the opportunity to celebrate UK lamb, a family favourite due to its superior taste and quality and shine a light on our world-class food and farming standards.

 

 

by Farming UK / AHDB

French sheep farmers warn against EU/NZ trade deal

A PROPOSED trade deal between New Zealand and the EU would see 38,000 tonnes lamb arrive at half the price of its competitors, French farming leaders have warned.

The president of the French National Sheep Federation, Michèle Boudoin, warned: “This agreement foresees sending 38,000 extra tonnes of sheep meat to Europe every year over the next seven years. On top of the current 114,000.

“We know how this is going to happen – our sector was globalised very early on, in the 1990s,” said Mr Boudoin. “The sheep is a very political animal. A bargaining chip. Since then, 228,000 tonnes of tax-free sheep are imported into Europe every year (with the United Kingdom at the time). Since then, the industry has been in decline. And this new agreement will make the situation even worse.”

The French sheep farmer went on to complain about the timing of NZ shipments of lamb hitting the shelves every year at Easter: “This is the most important time for our industry. Lamb is ecumenical and is eaten at Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim Easter in March.

“This means that NZ lambs can be found alongside Irish, Spanish and English lambs killed a few days earlier. The latter are sold for between €15 and €17 per kilo. €23 for the French. While the New Zealanders don’t exceed €10. Two and a half times cheaper. And this without any indication to the consumer, neither on the date of slaughter nor on the method of preservation.”

 

John Sleigh / The Scottish Farmer

 

AHDB to host US lamb importers visit to the UK

Five of America’s most respected red meat importers will join AHDB on a five-day mission next week to explore opportunities for UK lamb, ahead of the first commercial exports.

On Sunday, a delegation of importers and processors from the eastern region of the US, will be arriving in London to take part in a busy programme of events, which includes a visit to the National Sheep Association Show in Malvern.

The visit has been organised by AHDB in a bid to connect key importers from the US with lamb exporters, as well as showcasing the varied breeds and rich history of farming in the UK, and the high quality and taste of our products.

The delegation includes one of the most respected distributors in the eastern half of the US – delivering to 27 states and exporting to Latin America, as well as an importer which supplies hundreds of restaurants, retailers, hotels, universities and caterers throughout Virginia, Washington and Maryland.

One of the top importers and exporters of meat and seafood will also be taking part in the mission, alongside two leading lamb buyers.

AHDB Senior Export Manager Susana Morris said: “The US is an important market for our lamb exports, with AHDB estimating it to be worth £37 million in the first five years of trade. Currently, we are working with government on the final approval process, which once completed will see lamb exported to the US for the first time in 20 years.

 

AHDB

UK ministers accused of failing to fight for farmers with NZ trade deal

Welsh farmers’ leaders have criticised the UK Government’s new trade deal with New Zealand and says ministers have failed “to fight for the interests of our farmers”.

The government is also accused of blocking scrutiny of the deal which is currently awaiting MP’s approval.

Comparing the UK’s deal with a recently agreed pact between the EU and New Zealand, the Farmers’ Union of Wales says the import quota for sheep meat in year one of the agreement signed by the UK is more than forty times higher per head of population in the UK compared with the European Union agreement.

The EU-New Zealand trade deal, recently agreed in principle, would allow an additional 5,429 tonnes of sheep meat to be imported duty-free into the EU in year one of the agreement, whilst the equivalent figure for the UK in the deal announced in February this year is 35,000 tonnes.

“The UK increase in duty free quota for New Zealand sheep meat would be almost six and a half times higher in year one than what has been negotiated by the EU,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.

“However, when you take account of the fact that the population of the EU is nearly seven times higher than that of the UK, the increase per consumer is 43 times higher in the UK than in the EU.”

Mr Roberts said that another way of looking at the figure was that the EU had fought forty times harder for its sheep industry than the UK during its trade negotiations with New Zealand.

 

Nation Cymru

AHDB challenges council’s plans to ditch meat and dairy

Oxfordshire County Council is seeking to move toward providing only plant-based food at future council meetings and events.

Vegan meals could also be made available on school lunch menus at least two days per week.

The controversial plans were passed in December as part of what the council says are efforts to tackle climate change.

In response, local farmers staged a protest outside County Hall in Oxford earlier this month, urging the council to drop the proposals.

Now the AHDB has sent a letter to councillor Liz Leffman, who is leader of the local authority, saying the move “fails to reflect the impact of livestock production here in the UK.”

 

by Farming UK

Lamb price firmness remains

In the week ending 9 February, the GB old season lamb liveweight SQQ averaged 267.3p/kg, 2.2p lower than the week before.

The measure stood at just over 4p below the price recorded for the same week a year ago. Despite this, it was still over 50p/kg dearer than the five-year average for the week.

The number of lambs sold at GB auction marts during the week was estimated at 105,800 head, 5% less than the week before but up 7% from the same week a year ago.

Cull ewes averaged £91.87 per head, up £3.31 on the week.

 

On the deadweight front, the GB old season lamb SQQ ticked up in the week ending 5 February by nearly 10p to average 587.4p/kg. This put the measure up nearly 7p compared to the same week a year ago.

Clean sheep kill was estimated to be 211,700 head for the week, down 1% from the week before but up 14% year-on-year.

 

 

by Hannah Clarke / AHDB

Northern Ireland lamb returns to US market after rule change

Northern Ireland lamb is back on the menu in the United States of America from Monday.

Restrictions on UK imports, in place for more than 20 years, were lifted last month.

That came after the US Department of Agriculture amended its Small Ruminant Rule (SRR) to allow trade to recommence.

The US market is expected to be worth about £37m to British exporters in the first five years.

There are about 10,000 sheep flocks in Northern Ireland, encompassing about a million ewes.

They are mainly farmed for their meat, although milk and wool are also produced.

The Ulster Farmers Union described the US change as “quite significant”.

“Sheep farmers will be pleased, every new market is a bonus for them,” deputy president William Irwin said.

“Boris Johnson, the prime minister, met with President Biden back in September, and this was one of his asks at that time, that UK sheep meat be allowed into the US.

“I don’t think anybody thought that the response would have been as quick as this, but everybody’s pleased to have this opportunity.”

Conall Donnelly, the chief executive of the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters’ Association, said it “won’t make an immediate difference”.

 

 

By Louise Cullen / BBC NI

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