Farm chiefs criticise supermarket giant for New Zealand lamb move

Andrew Connon <i>(Image: NFU Scotland)</i>
Andrew Connon (Image: NFU Scotland)

Farming

By Alec Ross

Following the announcement that the major retailer Morrisons is to step back from its 100% commitment to UK lamb on its shelves, and stock New Zealand product on a trial basis in some stores, NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew Connon has given his response.

He said: “As Scottish farmers and crofters emerge from a very challenging lambing time, the news that Morrisons is stepping back from its 2017 commitment to stock only Scottish and British lamb in its stores is disappointing. And it comes at a time when volumes of new season lamb are growing week by week, produced to the highest standards.

“Long-running support for Scottish and UK agriculture across all product categories has been a central part of Morrisons reputation, branding and marketing. Their decision to turn to New Zealand producers at this time requires a proper explanation to the industry, backed up by reassurances over the volumes of Scottish lamb that the retailer still intends to purchase.

“Much of the retailer’s reputation is built upon its relationship and engagement with the farming industry. We need Morrisons to come to the table to discuss this move around lamb sourcing with those most affected.”

Round-up

A small consignment of early season lambs at Newton Stewart yesterday averaged 413p/kg or £201/head and sold to £220/head or 426p/kg for Suffolks from Baryerrock. Meanwhile, hoggs held up well at an average of 345p/kg and sold to £218/head for Suffolks from Boghouse and Gass or to 389p/kg for Beltexes from Blair. And cast ewes sold to £190 for pure Suffolks from Mid Skeog, with hill ewes selling to £154 for Cheviots from Low Mains.

Calves at Carlisle yesterday sold to £710 for a four-month old Belgian Blue from MJL Simpson & Son, Waingate Head, while heifers peaked at £690 for a British Blue from Smalmstown. A large consignment of store cattle of all ages averaged a very healthy £1,324 and peaked at £2,040 for a Limousin cross steer from Westray, while heifers sold to a peak of £1,920 for a Limousin from Shield Green. And dairy bred steers sold to £1,520 for a pair of Fleckviehs from Chapel Farm.