Welcome, Massive growth for meat exports and Worming lambs
It is pleasing to note that nearly two-thirds of beef and sheep farmers questioned in our recent communications survey are planning to invest in their business in the next 12 months, indicating that they are confident in the future of the sector. The results show that 60 per cent of respondents were planning significant investment, with machinery (61 per cent), buildings and housing (53 per cent) and changes to the flock.herd (50 per cent) coming top of the list of areas for expansion. The vast majority of auction markets questioned (84 per cent) were also planning investment, along with 48 per cent of abattoirs.
It is the first time we have asked about planned investment as part of our annual survey which we use to find out what levy payers think of some of the services we provide and to inform our decisions regarding the activities we undertake.
The results are very encouraging and reflect the increased confidence in the beef and sheep sector that we are encountering on farms across England. The steady improvement in the beef price we have experienced since early last year, and the continued strong sheep prices, are having a positive effect. However, it would be wrong to suggest that all is rosy and all producers will be seeing additional profits flood in. Conditions have been tough for a number of years, particularly for the suckler cow herds, and rising input costs certainly aren't making things any easier. However, what we hope we are seeing is the start of a rebalancing in the industry where margins begin to improve for producers.
Massive growth for meat exports
Exports of UK livestock products rose to £2.325* billion in 2011, an increase of 22% from 2010, according to data released by EBLEX and BPEX.
In 2006, the first year following the resumption of beef exports, total livestock product exports represented only £1.032 billion.
Carcase meat exports make up the vast majority of these exports, with beef representing 18.8%, lamb and mutton 16.3%, poultry 13.1% and pork 7.4% of the total value. The fastest growing category is beef offal, sales
of which have more than doubled over the last two years. The fastest growing export region is the Far East.
Jean‐Pierre Garnier, export manager for EBLEX and BPEX, said: “These impressive figures vindicate our efforts and those of individual exporters to boost exports of livestock products over the last few years.
“Global forces such as tight supply and a favourable exchange rate have certainly played a part in increasing our export opportunities, however without strategic planning and hard work we would not be in a position to
take advantage of the situation. “We are particularly pleased to see such positive results from our activities around offal and by‐products as well as our joint initiatives with Government to open new markets.
“With a strong export plan in place for 2012‐13, we can foresee further expansion not only in our core Western European markets but also in the Far East, Sub‐Saharan Africa and many other markets.”
“There is certainly a high level of enthusiasm and confidence among meat exporters which augurs well for the future.”
* HMRC export statistics show carcase meat exports in 2011 totalled £1.713. EBLEX estimates exports of other livestock products, including offals and hides and skins, totalled £0.612 billion.
Traditionally, lambs have been wormed at a set age and then regularly throughout the season, however this does not always give the best control, says EBLEX livestock scientist Dr Liz Genever.
“To get it right, with minimal use of anthelmintics, it’s important to know which parasites threaten your lambs, and use NADIS information to determine the risk level.
“Use Faecal Egg Counts (FECs) to monitor the worms present and help decide whether a drench is needed.”
For more information, download the EBLEX manual Target Worm Control for Better Returns