Out-of-town markets are being overlooked by sheep farmers

Eblex's Chris Lloyd has urged the UK's sheep industry to take advantage of the growing number of out-of-town livestock markets, and to develop sheep offal sales.

The industry development manager for the levy board said the recently built market venues were being overlooked by producers, but could provide good prices.

Speaking at the recent Eblex conference, Lloyd also added that the wool aspect of the business should now be developed, making full use of the product.

"We need to improve the value of the whole animal," said Lloyd. Another way of doing this, he added, was to maximise sales of fifth quarter products.

Around 1.68m livers were lost in 2009, "which equates to lost value of £1.5m". "We need to address this," he said.

Producers could find plenty of fifth quarter sheep sales overseas. "We can develop new markets in the Middle East and Asia, and with declining supplies in Europe, there are opportunities to fill."

"We need to think cuts not carcase for export but we have to produce a consistent product."

However, on the domestic market nutritional aspects of the meat had to be addressed. "We should emphasise the nutritional value of lamb, with vitamin B and iron part of the meat," said Lloyd. "It's important to improve the public perception of this fact."

Lloyd added that Eblex was in the process of moving consumers away from roasting joint family occasions to weekday eating.

But a final point was to address issue that lamb is seen as fatty, both in presentation of the meat, but also in marketing.