SHEEP producers have been warned that while prices for lamb meat look healthier than they have for some time, there is no room for complacency.
Quality Meat Scotland’s head of economic services Stuart Ashworth told the National Sheep Association’s annual conference that prices had gone up due to slide in production in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
Prices for producers should remain “historically high” due to quota and production restraints, but there remain challenges on the horizon, he said.
The cost of production could rise through increasing commodity prices, while consumer demand could shrink at the prospect of paying extra. The price of lamb rose by more than five per cent last year.
“In the longer term, and despite two spells of appalling winter weather within 2010, confidence amongst producers is better than for some time,” he said.
“Nevertheless, producer margins are still wafer thin and concerns over future policy reforms to both the single farm premium and LFASS could quickly damage this confidence.
“However, in the shorter term the basic supply and demand balance remains in favour of producers, the exchange rates continue to favour UK producers and there is little reason for producer prices to fall.
“Improved farm gate prices mean margins are better but with processor margins still under pressure and input costs rising the scale of the challenge to hold on to recent improved margins should not be underestimated.
“Producers have to take this opportunity to home in on their efficiency and ensure that they are well protected against future prices movements.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 390 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News