Eblex E-News September

By Suffolk Sheep Society 3rd September, 2012

Welcome, New season lamb numbers prompt promotional push, UK cattle and sheep yearbook launched, EBLEX farm tour aims to put lamb back on the menu and Experts confirm Schmallenberg is still circulating.


Did you know the English red meat sector has a net annual worth of nearly £1.7 billion? Or that it takes just 67 litres of water to produce a kilogram of beef in this country? Or that red meat is now far lower in fat than i was 20 years ago?

As a sector we are constantly challenged on the environmental impact of beef and sheep production, the facts about red meat and nutrition, and much more besides.

We all know that we should be proud of our industry, but u's not always so easy to recall relevant facts and figures when talking to other people about why England is such as great place to produce quality beef and sheep meat.  Fo some time, farmers and stakeholder organisations have told us how useful it would be to have a handy booklet with a sprinkling of industry facts in to help spread the word about our efficient production, the quality of our beef and lamb products and the size and value of production.  For that reason, we've put together the Proud of Beef and Lamb booklet.

It does no more than scratch the surface, but Proud of beef and lamb hopefully serves as a handy guide to share with other in the industry, with consumers who know little about our work and to counteract detractors of the industry keen only to focus on what they perceive as negatives.

Hard copies of the booklet are available on request by calling

[PHONE;0870 242 1394;]

or emailing


Alternatively the booklet can be downloaded here.

Nick Allen, Sector Director


New season lamb numbers prompt promotional push

A bumper crop of new season lambs has coincided with the launch of a new EBLEX promotional campaign to stimulate demand from consumers and help boost returns to farmers.

Reduced supply coupled with little innovation in new cuts has seen lamb become somewhat of a premium meat over the past 18 months, but with good numbers now flowing through the supply chain, the push is on for the retail and foodservice industries to put lamb back on the nation’s plates.

And TV presenter Ben Shephard and former politician Edwina Currie have been drafted in to help with the campaign.

The three-year ‘Discover Lamb’ campaign aims to reposition lamb as an affordable and versatile meat that families can enjoy throughout the week. Better value cuts with greater consistency, along with recipe ideas and cooking tips, in-store promotions and a consumer PR campaign, are all geared towards boosting lamb sales.

Among the specific promotions is an on-pack offer on Red Tractor assured lamb in supermarkets, linked to 5by25 campaign which, with the help of charity partners, aims to encourage young people to learn how to cook five dishes by the age of 25. The competition will invite consumers to ‘Vote to Win’. By placing a vote for either ‘Ben Shepherd’s Pie’ or ‘Edwina’s Lamb Curry’, consumers are in with a chance of winning one of 25 multimedia tablets.

The pair will tour the country stopping at youth organisations and community centres, in a bid to get young people cooking and mastering their signature dish. Each celebrity is aiming to gain the biggest following for their dish by encouraging people to vote for their favourite via the campaign website

[LINK; www.5by25.com ;5by25;;;Y]

and by spreading the word through Facebook and Twitter.


The consumer website

[LINK;www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk;Simply beef and lamb;;;Y]

will feature on the materials and a special ‘Discover Lamb’ section will be developed to enable consumers to find out more information and enter the competition to win a branded baking dish. The Simply Beef and Lamb Facebook page, which has over 30,000 likes, will also be used to communicate the latest information.

Mike Whittemore, EBLEX trade team marketing manager, said: "The domestic lamb sector has been through a tough period but things are looking up. As new season lamb becomes more widely available it will begin to appeal more to price conscious consumers.

"However, there is still some work to do. While price is a driver for many consumers, they are also motivated by their perception of a product and their knowledge of what to do with it. Even though lamb is much-loved for its flavour, it is widely regarded by consumers as being fatty and wasteful. At a time when consumers are still feeling the pinch, they want to be reassured that their money isn’t going towards a product that doesn’t fully satisfy them. As a direct response, we have launched an industry-wide campaign to help stimulate consumer demand for lamb, which will remind people just how good it can be."


UK cattle and sheep yearbook launched

The value of sheep meat produced in the UK topped £1.14 billion with beef totalling £2.695 billion last year, while exports of both were well up on 2010 levels, according to the new UK Yearbook 2012 for sheep and cattle.

The revamped yearbook, produced by EBLEX and AHDB Market Intelligence, pulls together a wealth of statistics to provide farmers, auction markets, processors, retailers and other interested stakeholders, with an accurate picture of beef and sheep meat production in this country.

It combines two separate publications previously produced each year by EBLEX – A Pocketful of Meat Facts and the old version of the Yearbook.

As well as production levels and exports, it includes data on livestock numbers, slaughterings, consumption, livestock and meat prices, abattoirs, auction markets and carcase classification.

"We have been publishing both the UK Yearbook and Pocketful for a number of years and they have become a much-used reference resource for the domestic industry," said James Pownall, Data and Analysis Manager for the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, of which EBLEX is the beef and sheep division.

"As part of our business planning process, we reviewed both publications and, as there was some crossover, decided to change the format and merge the two together so all the facts and figures are in one place. The idea is to ensure that all those in the industry are armed with as much information as possible to help them make business decisions.

"We hope it will prove to be just as useful to industry as the old publications and would welcome feedback on the new format."


The book is available free of charge on request, subject to availability. To request a copy, email


 or call

[PHONE;024 7647 8850;]

Also, for the first time, the publication is being made available on the EBLEX website in two pdf files, one for sheep and one for cattle. You can find them in the

[LINK;http://www.eblex.org.uk/markets/market-intelligence-publications.aspx;MI Publications section;;;Y]

A yearbook is also available for the pig sector.


EBLEX farm tour aims to put lamb back on the menu

A series of farm visits has been organised by EBLEX in a bid to get lamb back on the menus in food service establishments.

Reduced supply, leading to higher prices, has seen lamb become somewhat of a premium meat of late but, with good numbers of lambs now flowing through the supply chain, EBLEX believes this is an ideal time for the catering industry to put lamb – a popular protein with consumers – back on the menu.

Aimed at independent chefs, foodservice operators, catering butchers and suppliers, the lamb tour will stop at five Quality Standard Mark Scheme approved farms in different locations around England. The farms have been specifically selected for their different breeds, terrain and unique characteristics, which will enable the attendees to see for themselves the farming methods and practices behind the scheme standards.

As well as a tour of the farms, the events will also include a butchery demonstration to showcase a number of lamb cuts that are ideal for caterers and offer good value for money. The day will conclude with a DIY barbecue lunch, when guests will have the opportunity to cook and sample the featured cuts for themselves.

EBLEX foodservice project manager Hugh Judd said: "Lamb remains a popular choice with consumers, especially when eating out, so we need to work with the supply chain to get it back onto menus.

"The lamb tour will provide an excellent opportunity to bring the supply chain together - to educate and inspire - and create discussion among our guests to help them better understand the needs of each sector."

Experts confirm Schmallenberg is still circulating

Scientific experts gathered from across the animal health and welfare industry at a conference organised by the NFU on Wednesday to discuss animal health and the Schmallenberg virus.

NFU animal health adviser Catherine McLaughlin said more needed to be done to identify where the disease is circulating to help farmers plan and avoid livestock contact with midges that bite and infect the animal with the virus.

“Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College and the Institute of Animal Health have confirmed that the Schmallenberg virus has over-wintered, she said. “This is concerning for our members who will be planning autumn breeding, a critical time. Animals infected with the virus during these early months of pregnancy are most at risk of producing deformed offspring and of having abortions. This is obviously a great worry for our members.

“However, early reports do show us that livestock that had the disease this year and last year will have developed immunity and this will help build a natural resistance here in the UK.

“What we need is more efficient and effective diagnostics on the ground identifying where the Schmallenberg virus is, and therefore likely to cause potential problems. This will be the best tool to help farmers in the fight against this disease this year. We also need to have the vaccine, which we understand has been developed to be licensed and approved as soon as possible. While this won’t help those farmers with infected animals, it will start to protect those in areas that have not yet seen the disease.

“We would ask members to be vigilant and report any symptoms to the local vet or animal health office.”

NFU Vice President Adam Quinney, who chaired the animal health conference said: “The report from the IAH and the Royal Veterinary college on Schmallenberg has confirmed what we always suspected. The midge has over-wintered and will cause problems for livestock farmers next spring. However, from the advice we have received today, we are hoping there will be a low incidence rate on farm. That said there will be some tough decisions that need to be made, not least about tupping and managing the all-important breeding season for autumn.”


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