5 Apr 2013

NZ lamb not pulling down UK prices - Beef and Lamb chair

11:56 am on 5 April 2013

Beef and Lamb New Zealand's chairman believes he's been able to convince British and French sheep farmers that this country is not to blame for the poor returns they've been getting.

Mike Petersen held meetings with farmer representatives in the UK and Europe last week to respond to their concerns about low prices and answer criticism that New Zealand lamb exports were contributing to their woes by competing with local lamb.

Mr Petersen says he told them a complex combination of weather and other factors were to blame, not New Zealand lamb.

He says it's been a very slow season in the UK and they carried a lot of lambs over to market leading up to Easter which is traditionally New Zealand's selling time and the problem has been compounded with Easter being early this year.

Mr Petersen says there is a set of circumstances which has led to low lamb prices for farmers worldwide, including the economic crisis in Europe which is slowing down demand.

He says there was recognition from UK and French lamb producers that there was a complicated set of circumstances that led to lower pricing this year.

Mr Petersen says the expectation is that there will be better prices next season with lower supplies.

Mr Petersen also met European commission officials in Brussels to counter suggestions that New Zealand's 228,000 tonne sheep and goat meat quota to the EU should be reviewed, especially as it was only about 70% filled last year.

He says there's no suggestions that quotas will be changed but the visit was necessary to reinforce the New Zealand viewpoint because farming groups in that part of the world are calling for change.