UK sheepmeat exports up in July

UK mutton exports increased in July, but were down from the same period in 2021.

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), nearly 6,000 t of sheep meat were exported in July.

Breaking down the July data, AHDB analyst Hannah Clarke said: “Almost 6,000 tonnes of fresh and frozen sheepmeat were shipped from the UK, representing an 11% increase on to June, but a decrease of 4% compared to July 2021.

“In terms of value, total July sheepmeat shipments were up 6% year-on-year to £41.5million.

“Month-on-month volumes increased to France, Germany and Belgium, outpacing the drop in shipments to Ireland.

“However, looking at the month’s 4% year-over-year drop in exports, the biggest contributor came from the 17% [-600t] drop in exports to France.

“UK sheepmeat production fell in July, a month marked by exceptional drought and poor grass growth, likely affecting supplies available for export compared to previous years,” Clarke continued. .

“From January to July (inclusive), UK exports of fresh and frozen sheepmeat totaled 41,600t, up 18% year-on-year.

“Shipments to the EU increased by 23% to 39,100 t, with growth to Ireland, France, Germany and Belgium. The total value of these exports reached £283.1m, up 28% year-on-year.

Source: AHDB

UK sheepmeat imports

In contrast to exports, more fresh and frozen sheep meat continued to enter the UK in July than a year ago, but volumes were down from the previous month.

According to Clarke, 5,500 t of product were imported in July, down 15% from June.

“Shipments down 11% from New Zealand [510t]Ireland by 30% [280t]and Australia by 15% [90t],” she says.

“However, on an annual basis, shipments have increased by 31%. Volumes from New Zealand were 9% [+1,000t] higher, and Irish volumes increased significantly (almost four times, but from a lower base than New Zealand).

“For January-July (inclusive), UK sheepmeat imports totaled 40,400t, up 27% on the same period a year ago. Shipments were higher from the top three suppliers [New Zealand +2,000t; Ireland +4,200t; Australia +2,500t].”

Chart showing UK sheepmeat imports by partner for January-July 2022
Source: AHDB