7 July 1995

Sheep trade targets carcass sales to plug live export gap

By Rebecca Austin

LIVE sheep exports fell 44% in the first six months of 1995, compared with last year.

For the year as a whole, the Meat and Livestock Commission anticipates 800,000 fewer sheep will be exported on the hoof – a loss of £12m in trade. But the industry has responded to export restrictions by lifting carcass exports. As a result beef, lamb and pork exports are running 18%, 16% and 12% higher, respectively, than in the first half of 1994.

And this trend has increased steadily over the years. Between 1993 and 1994, beef exports improved by 47,000t, lamb by 2800t and pork by 27,000t. In financial terms these volumes convert to values of £501m, £312m and £129m for beef, lamb and pork, respectively.

Even though calf exports dropped 24%, a total of 16% more pigs were sold abroad. Most of this trade was for breeding stock. Although sterlings weak position has enhanced the export trade, the MLC also cites customer satisfaction.

"Now a large number of export companies have export managers we must discipline them even further on a standard quality product. There is still demand for all products in Europe where processed products are starting to sell very well," said MLCs chief technical officer, Henry Lewis.

And MLC has revamped its export department to try to channel more levy funds into this area. "Exports to Europe and Third World countries are now so important to the industry and there is good work to be done there," said David Croston, the new lamb export marketing manager.

The department is now headed by Terry Lee who was previously Milk Marques sales and marketing manager. Richard Turvill is beef product manager and Bent Windahl pig and processed product export market manager. &#42