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'Why should British farmers expect to take less for lamb that is reared to the highest of standards?'

Scott Donaldson, president for the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers Scotland and joint managing direction for Harrison and Hetherington, questioned how much British producers were being paid for lamb.

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'The price of sheepmeat in other countries has never been better, so why should British producers suffer?'

He said: The price of sheepmeat in other countries has never been better, so why should British producers suffer.

 

“Last week, New Zealand lamb was trading at 380p/kg, Australian lamb was at more than 470p/kg, French lamb was at 540p/kg and Southern Irish lamb was at 420p/kg.

 

“Why should we expect to take less for lamb that is reared and finished to the highest of standards?”

 

Mr Donaldson also hit out on environmentalists who were encouraging the public to consume less milk and dairy to meet carbon reduction targets.

 

He said: “New Zealand is 14,000 nautical miles away and it takes 60 days for a ship to carry chilled lamb from there to the UK.

 

“If the country is so worried about climate change, surely environmentally conscious supermarkets in the UK would be better leaving New Zealand lamb where it is and start working with the industry to flatten out the supply of home-reared lamb.”


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Opportunities

 

Mike Gooding, director of Farmers Fresh abattoir, believed lamb market opportunities outside Europe could benefit the sheep sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but perhaps not in the time that might be needed to replace European outlets, and that UK producers face fierce competition.

 

He said: “We need to remember that it is all about who we know and, although high standards of production, assurance and traceability can be useful marketing opportunities, they do not give anyone a licence to sell all around the world or earn any more euro cents for doing it.

 

“It would take a long time to break into new markets and a lot of effort to make it happen.”

 

Mr Gooding added that Farmers Fresh had a weekly kill of 30,000 lambs (10 per cent of the weekly UK lamb kill) and of that kill, 80-85 per cent was exported into the European Union.

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