Irish beef exports to the UK suffer a setback for the first month of 2021

A recent report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has revealed that the import of beef consignments from Ireland to the UK fell by 32% year-on-year in January 2021.

In total 10,200t of Irish beef was exported in the UK market during the first month of 2021.

These latest figures were to be expected as there was a big push prior to the end of December 2020 to beat the threat of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. However as the agreement was reached on December 24, this threat was alleviated – but it resulted in a surplus of Irish beef supplies being available during the month January.

Irish beef winter finishers were well and truly informed of this surplus, as they were told by factories that this was a reason behind the setback in price experienced over a month ago.

Decline in total beef imports

Ireland was not alone in seeing reduced levels of beef enter the UK market in January, as shipments also fell from the Netherlands – which saw a decrease of 1,000t (65%). Polish imports were also reduced by 560t (46%) compared to the same month last year.

Imports from Brazil, which are largely made up of processed beef and offal, fell by 6% which brought their total shipment into the UK to 2,400t in January.

Overall for January, UK beef imports of fresh and frozen beef totalled 12,300t – falling 36% (7,000t) year-on-year.

pre-movement tb testing, Meats

Exports of UK beef also take a hit

In relation to the levels of beef exported out of the UK, these followed a similar pattern to imports in that the overall tonnage of beef leaving its borders dropped.

AHDB stated that year-on-year UK exports of fresh and frozen beef fell by a staggering 9,100t in the month of January, to a total of just 2,200t.

Exports to Ireland, which typically would be the largest export destination for UK beef, fell by 3,400t, tallying to 200t in the first month of the year.

Shipments to the Netherlands and France also declined, totalling 200t and 150t respectively.

On a positive note, exports to South Africa and Ghana grew notably – but being relatively small customers, this was not enough to outweigh losses to Europe.