By FW staff

CATTLE, pig and sheep finishers should prepare to sell more stock deadweight, to a specific spec and under contract if they want to compete in Europe this year.

Eastern Germany-based Stuart Ward, partner in Koesling Anderson, says UK producers will be disadvantaged when other mainland Europe countries start trading in euros. Buyers in other EU states wont have to worry about currency fluctuations, and that may distance British producers from the market, he says.

But farm assurance schemes may help gain a foothold in the market. “Stop looking at the negatives of traceability. UK meat is very clean compared with mainland Europe, so emphasise the positives of that traceability,” he says.

But there are other concerns. Transport regulations for live animals will also become tighter throughout Europe. To market in Europe, he believes UK producers must sell meat deadweight and transport it on the hook to Europe.

Other European markets are also far less tolerant of animals falling outwith their specifications. “In Europe, poultry and pig producers find a contract before producing meat for a market. They then use these contracts to borrow from banks and expand their businesses.”

Despite a greater emphasis on contracts, producers should not be afraid that this will lead to vertical integration from producer to consumer, he adds.