Sheep producers experience ‘perfect storm’

Trading conditions for English sheep producers have reached a new low, with losses of £26 per animal, according to recent Eblex figures.

The new figures have proven that sheep producers are experiencing their greatest losses since 2006.

These losses could be due to a combination of low prices and rising costs. In 2007, the average cost of production for a lamb was £68, whereas today it has risen to a staggering estimate of £91 per animal.

Commenting on the situation, Eblex chairman John Cross said: “The industry is experiencing a perfect storm of depressed farmgate prices and increasing costs, creating the worst trading conditions the industry has known for over half a decade.”

Cross explained that contributing factors include the effect of a significant increase in the quantity of low-priced New Zealand lamb imports arriving in the UK, in addition to some decline in demand, particularly in Europe.

He added: “If we continue seeing large quantities of cheap imported product on the shelves, the lamb market is unlikely to recover in the way we would usually expect it to.

“It is essential we operate in a free worldwide market. However, everyone must bear in mind their wider responsibility to nurture a more stable trading environment in order to create a sustainable global lamb supply chain.”