EU sheepmeat imports up 19% during first two months of 2016 – AHDB

The volume of sheepmeat imported into the EU during the first two months of the year was up 19%, figures from the AHDB (the body for English beef and lamb) show.

In January and March, EU importers bought 27,800t of sheepmeat, with the majority of this coming from the Southern Hemisphere.

New Zealand was the main source of this product, with Kiwi sheepmeat exports to the EU jumping by 29% to reachowever, the volume of sheepmeat imported from Australia declined by 44% in the first two months of the year.

And, the AHDB suggests that some of the Australian sheepmeat quota will go unused in 2016, due to the lower volume exported to date.

New Zealand to blame for lower Irish price

Meat Industry Ireland (the association representing beef and sheep processors) recently stated that additional supplies of New Zealand lamb in Europe was a key reason for weaker Irish sheep markets so far this year.

Since the beginning of April, Irish spring lamb prices have fell by €10/head, with most factories now offering a base price of 550c/kg. This is down from 600c/kg in early April.

However, the volume of sheepmeat exported from New Zealand is likely to decline as the year progresses.

In March of this year, Beef and Lamb New Zealand suggested that kiwi lamb exports would fall by 8.1% during the 2015-2016 season.

In its Mid-Season Update, it cites falling carcass weights and a decline in slaughter numbers as the main reasons for the drop.

The New Zealand beef and lamb board also expects the total number of lambs slaughtered to decline by 8%, bringing the New Zealand lamb kill for the 2015-2016 season to 19.6m head.