21 April 2015 | Online since 2003



13 December 2012|News,Sheep

Sheep sector must retain confidence, NFU warns


Confidence must be maintained within the sheep industry if it is to exploit global demand for British lamb, the National Farmers' Union has said today.

Sheep producers have endured a challenging year due to a poor summer, longer finishing period and a marked decrease in lamb prices.

But according to Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman, these are short term factors and it is essential that processors and retailers take a long term view of the market and avoid sending out further negative signals to farmers.


"The national flock is showing signs of increasing after many years of declining numbers but producer confidence is finely balanced," said Sercombe.

"British lamb is in demand on both home and export markets but farmers need the confidence to invest in the future if we are to exploit these opportunities.


"The boom bust cycle of sheep pricing is not in the interests of the farmer, processor or retailer and sending out negative price signals is damaging to the entire sector. The poor summer and rising input costs are continuing to erode farm margins."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) also warned the sector that Schmallenberg virus could return in 2013.

Reports from Europe about the effects of the disease in its second year led the National Sheep Association (NSA) to look for ways in which the UK could better equip itself to deal with the midge-borne virus.

"Anecdotal reports from France and other areas of Europe suggest Schmallenberg may be causing more problems in its second year than expected, possibly because livestock does not develop the level of immunity anticipated" said Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive.

HSBC Head of Agriculture Allan Wilkinson said the agricultural sector needs to concentrate on 'the basics' in order to preserve margins in 2013.

Wilkinson warned that farm incomes are expected to plateau next year, which means farmers must place extra emphasis on costs of production and enterprise margins.

UK beef production is unlikely to recover from current low levels in 2013 and the weak economy both in the UK and abroad could dampen prices.

"Although home sheep consumption continues to fall, exports are rising and we expect to see growth in sheep flocks next year. However, 2011 may prove to have been the peak in the current profitability cycle" he said.

Download




Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


31 March 2015
IRC93504 - Senior Specialist: air pollution and ecotoxicology
? Broad knowledge and experience of sources of atmospheric pollution (especially nitrogen) including agriculture....

10 April 2015
Divisional Key Accounts Manager – Saudi Arabia
Experience in dealing Dairy, Juices, Baked and Poultry products. You will be responsible for managing and developing the busi...

1 April 2015
International Supply Chain - Agriculture - Homebased UK
You will have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to sustainable agriculture and farmer-focused implementation...

16 April 2015
Farm Estate and Gardens Apprentice
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a farm and gardens apprentice to work on our Common Leys farm campus....

4 April 2015
Assistant Store Manager (Team Manager)
When you become a member of The Co-operative Group, you join a vast range of businesses working together as one organisation ...



Top stories you may have missed
10 April 2015 | Agri Safety

Final phase of Scotland's war on BVD

The permanent eradication of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea [BVD] in Scottish cattl...


10 April 2015 | Dairy

Dairy farmers competitiveness will be te...

The abolition of milk quotas in Europe on 1st April has resulted in a numbe...


10 April 2015 | Cattle

EU milk sector growth 'dependent on expo...

The top 14 milk producing countries in Europe will increase their productio...


10 April 2015 | News

Could the rural vote hold the key to the...

Matt Ware is the NFU's head of government and parliamentary affairs, based ...


10 April 2015 | Arable

Action needed to boost farmgate prices i...

There is a 'desperate need' to improve farmgate returns given low incomes a...


9 April 2015 | Arable

OSR damage risks early Sclerotinia infec...

Rapid stem extension, after a slow start to spring, is likely to create spl...


9 April 2015 | Finance

Time for a farm rent revolution?

The time has come for landlords to expect to see reductions in farm rents, ...


8 April 2015 | Cattle

Cogent strengthens reputation for high c...

Cogent’s reputation as a source of the highest calibre sires has been enhan...


8 April 2015 | Arable

Exotic plant fungus a 'serious threat to...

The spread of exotic and aggressive strains of a plant fungus is presenting...


7 April 2015 | Animal Health

Share information to tackle food fraud, ...

The FSA’s new Food Crime Unit wants the industry to share information, some...