September 25, 2020


Beef import remains weak despite strong demand in UK



The latest figure from the United Kingdom's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) revealed July beef imports remain weak.


"Imports are still running below the five-year average, likely due to continuing lower demand as foodservice remains restricted. Production was also higher year-on-year in July, which may have also reduced import requirements," AHDB livestock Hannah Clarke said.


AHDB said UK beef imports, including primary, processed and offal, are down 12% on the year which only totalled to 23,400 tonnes. July data included fresh and frozen primary beef which accounts for 76% at 17,700 tonnes.


Lower import shipments were recorded from Ireland, Poland and the Netherlands.


The record from January to July showed total beef import is down 11% year-on-year at 175,100 tonnes.


The downward movement of prime deadweight cattle in the market puts prime cattle down 3p from the previous week's pricing at 369.0p/kg. However, even with the cattle market under pressure, prices remain over 15p, above the 5-year average.


During August, beef and veal production in the UK totalled 74,100 tonnes, 1% more than August produce last year.


Clarke said: "Cattle prices had been buoyant in August, potentially drawing numbers out. A combination of sustained retail demand and tighter cattle numbers has been behind the price strength. "


"We will soon have data to indicate whether the government's "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme had an effect on beef consumption, giving more colour to the increasing trend of the returning foodservice market," Clarke added.


- Farming Independent