01 February 2015 | Online since 2003



Figures show 'very little' increase in Polish beef imports


With weakening cattle prices of late, many have been quick to point the finger at Polish beef imports.

The evidence does not however, back up the stories circulating of floods of Polish product swamping the UK market. Official figures show very little increase in Polish beef coming directly into the UK since the summer, when a ban on religious slaughter led to more Polish beef on EU markets in general.

In fact, Polish beef imports to November (the latest date when customs figures are available) increased by 384 tonnes between 2012 and 2013 compared to an increase of 1,783 tonnes from Brazil, 2,082 tonnes from Namibia and 4,002 tonnes from Botswana in the same period.

To put this in perspective, in total between January and November we imported 215,100 tonnes of beef, the vast majority (144,446 tonnes) from Ireland. While beef imports to the UK from Poland actually fell 7% on the year in November, overall beef imports in November were 7% higher than year earlier levels, largely on the back of increased shipments from Ireland, with production in 2013 up 5% on the year.

Despite the fact that comparatively little of the available Polish beef seems to be making its way directly onto the UK market, more of this manufacturing quality, largely frozen beef coming on to EU markets will displace other product and so have a dampening effect on our beef prices, especially for plainer animals.

Looking ahead, a recently released report from the Irish food board also estimates a 6% rise in Irish cattle supplies this year and a 7% increase in export availability. With the UK a key export market, this has the potential to put pressure on our beef prices - however, if consumer demand from other EU countries recovers, this may take some of the pressure off.

Despite the AHDB estimating that 2013 slaughterings were at their lowest for 65 years, the Defra June Census shows an increase in the number of animals currently at slaughter age.

Coupled with the fact that falling prices in the final quarter of last year have provided an incentive for producers to hold on to cattle for longer, it is likely that we will see some of those cattle come forward in the first few months of this year.

AHDB/EBLEX figures bear this out,suggesting that in the middle of January throughputs were up by 6% (almost 2,000 head) on the week, and 7% up on the corresponding week last year.

The messages the union received suggested that with a mild winter, many of the processors have well stocked chillers and with demand normally lower in January, they don’t need to slaughter as many cattle to satisfy demand.

This increased supply at a time of lacklustre demand can only have a dampening effect on price in the short term, especially for cattle which do not meet supermarket spec, which faces heavy deductions.

Looking longer term, the June Census also reported that the number of female beef cattle between one and two years of age was also higher. Although many of these animals will have been slaughtered, the drop in cull cow supply in the last six months, shows that the erosion of the breeding herd may be slowing. The next Defra figures in March are eagerly anticipated to indicate the future supply of quality beef in the UK.

The NFU has continued to urge retailers, processors, food manufacturers and all other parties in the trade to work with British farmers to ensure a sustainable supply of beef from the UK. This involves building long term committed relationships, offering secure, sustainable pricing models which incentivise farmers to make the investments needed to guarantee a bright future for the UK beef herd.

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


24 January 2015
BDM / ACCOUNT MANAGER - Packaging / Artwork /Retail / Consumer
Also to farm and grow existing accounts / contacts. BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER - Artwork for Retail & Consumer Packagin...

15 January 2015
Controls Engineer (Manufacturing/ FMCG)
Controls Engineer, Systems Engineer, Controls Manager, Systems Manager, Maintenance, Engineer, Engineering, Production, SCADA...

22 January 2015
RETAIL BUTCHER
Full Time Qualified Retail Butcher required for busy butchers Polhill garden centre. Call Sam/Dave 01959 533 711 or email CV:...

9 January 2015
Commercial Property Solicitor
The Commercial Property Solicitor will deal with a varied caseload of real estate along with agriculture matters including th...

21 January 2015
Linux Systems Administrator
Linux System Administrator, (Redhat, Solaris, TCP/IP, Shell/Perl, Suse Linux, Veritas, SAN, Betting Exchange, Stock Exchange,...




Top stories you may have missed
12 November 2014 | Arable
GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops are good for the economy and can reduce the amount of pesticides u...


6 November 2014 | Cattle
Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Demand from smaller European markets has helped drive strong growth for UK ...


6 November 2014 | Agri Safety
Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

A lack of engineers, not enough people promoting the land-based industries ...


4 November 2014 | Bees and Beekeeping
Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is launching the National Pollinator ...


4 November 2014 | Arable
Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Agricultural specialists have welcomed a potential financial boost for youn...


3 November 2014 | News
Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

As retailers continue to participate in a highly competitive race to the bo...


31 October 2014 | Arable
New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New farm business income data from Defra, which focus on income from March ...


30 October 2014 | Agri Safety
Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture has remained one of the industries in which workers are most li...


29 October 2014 | Finance
UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

Prime arable land in the UK has seen a substantial year-on-year growth in p...


27 October 2014 | Arable
Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

A new mobile app for farmers able to pinpoint and identify disease, pests a...