Kiwi farmers are in talks with British farmers to ensure they both get the best price for lamb from major supermarket chains and that they are not undercutting each other.
There is evidence undercutting of prices had resulted in returns for lamb being reduced by $10 to $12 in the past season.
Leaders of the farmer-driven Meat Industry Excellence group (MIE) found year-round lamb supply could be advantageous to farmers from both countries after talks with English sheep and beef industry organisation EBLEX, the National Farmers Union and the National Sheep Association in Stockton this year.
MIE director Don Morrison said the initial contact was to establish a relationship with British farming counterparts to develop a better understanding of the difficulties meat producers face in both countries.
It became clear during talks that lamb products could be offered in British supermarkets year-round to consumers, he said.
“For this reason the UK farmers should be our best friends and we need to work with them to develop the market and ensure maximum return to all suppliers.
“Co-operation is also needed to ensure suppliers are not undercutting each other to the detriment of overall returns.”
Morrison said it was evident from the meeting that both groups of farmers faced similar issues.
“We all farm under variable seasonal climatic conditions to produce a high-quality product that can be delivered on spec to the market.
“There is a balance being met between production and environmental responsibility, and both groups of farmers expect to farm in a sustainable industry where both profitability and farm succession can be achieved.”
All farmers wanted lamb products marketed as a premium food to get the maximum value in the marketplace.
Morrison said there were endless examples of undercutting that devalued lamb for all producers.
A lead buyer from one British supermarket had given an example from the past sale season of returns for lamb reducing by $10 to $12.
MIE will host members of the British sheep sector delegation during their fact-finding visit to New Zealand.
(Source – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/sheep/9023372/UK-and-Kiwi-sheep-farmers-in-price-talks)