In December AHDB released its forecasts for cattle and sheep production. Since then the market has changed dramatically with much of Europe now in ‘lockdown’ due to coronavirus. Sheep prices have come under pressure with a lack of demand both domestically and in Europe, and the cattle industry is struggling with carcase balance.
New Zealand volumes of sheep meat to the EU plus UK were marginally up during the first two months of 2020 at just shy of 25,000 tonnes. New Zealand’s usage of its EU quota (which for now includes the UK) during the first three months of the year was steady on-the-year.
Coronavirus has not been positive for hide prices. The hide market had already been under pressure for some months, but further concerns about demand and the supply chain’s ability to keep running have pushed prices lower.
There are concerns that New Zealand sheep meat originally destined for China might be diverted towards Europe. Reports from New Zealand have confirmed the diverted product has mainly headed towards the Middle East.
A new report published by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) suggested the increasing use of low-carbon farming practices, improving animal health, precision farming, planting more trees, restoring peatland, increasing the planted area of bioenergy crops and reducing food waste would help to achieve reductions in emissions.
No-one can have escaped the headlines about consumer behaviour and views on meat and plant-based foods. The European Commission has investigated the impact that switching between animal protein and plant protein might have on the prices and production of each.
For the past two years, UK imports of lamb from New Zealand have tracked below historic normal levels while at the same time the global supply and demand balance has tightened, and global prices have continued to trend significantly above the five year average as we enter 2019.