The latest market update released by the Agriculture Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) shows the UK imported 730t more sheepmeat in September when compared with September 2022 volumes.

New Zealand was the main supplier, accounting for 2,300t. This represents a reduction of 410t on August levels and a 330t fall when compared with September 2022.

The report highlights that the reduction in imports is possibly due to competitively priced Australian sheepmeat displacing New Zealand sheepmeat in the marketplace. Imports from Australia were recorded at 1,200t for September.

This is an increase of 270t on September 2022 levels, with the report also highlighting that the AHDB continues to monitor the levels of imports coming from Australia as the tarriff rate quota progresses.

It adds that prices on Australia remain "very internationally competitive thanks to a record sized sheep flock".

Sheepmeat exports

Meanwhile, UK sheepmeat exports are creeping upwards on the back of lower domestic consumption, higher imports and keen demand from EU markets.

Sheepmeat exports totaling 6,850t in September 2023 increased by 400t on August levels, with volumes running 450t higher than in September 2022.

The report adds that with further falls in production expected in the EU, the UK could see further growth in exports in the coming months, particularly if seasonal religious events boost demand.

It adds that with lower production in recent months, there could possibly be more product coming on to the market in the run-in to Christmas, which may occur in tandem with "continued pressure from imported product".