Farmer Focus: Meat shoppers buying less, but better

What weather we are having. The sun shines for days, only to be interrupted by the odd downpour and thunderstorm.

Paddocks have gotten ahead of us and we now need to reassess and begin closing acreage off to be cut and baled.

This is not an issue, as we do not have any buffer forage stock in the system, and this seems to be the trend with many farmers in the local area.

Another benefit to the early summer is that the ewes are shearing well. The nucleus and indoor lambing flock are done, and the outdoor commercial flock will be done in the coming days.

Once this is complete we will begin weaning, recording weights and taking the back fat and eye muscle measurements.

See also: Guide to breeding from ewe lambs

Quality meat, not quantity

The BBQ season continues at the shop. We are seeing an increase in customers, although the trend seems to be that they buy less, but “better” meat.

Our sourcing policy of rearing our own, or sourcing from Welsh farms, appeals to the consumers who want ethically reared meat with provenance. We must continue to ensure standards are high, that we promote what we do and that we’re proud of our industry.

Shop closure

A local family butchers closed its doors last week. The shop was in its third generation of ownership and highlights the evolution of the high street.

Being an independent family business is no longer enough – the consumer expects better quality, better sourcing and better service from independents.

If this isn’t provided, there is nothing to keep them away from taking the convenient option of supermarket shopping. Supermarkets have parking, late opening hours and deliveries which makes them very attractive to the busy consumer.

As independents, we need to find a way to compete. The change in buying trends is evident, with supermarkets promoting British farming and promoting their collaborations with farmers.

This is fantastic for our industry and we hope that it results in fairer prices throughout the season and that we, as farmers, feel valued and not exploited.