Contrasting demand profiles in the domestic and export markets for lamb probably help explain some of the apparent poor quality stock coming off British farms (see story right), as Kim Matthews of MLC points out: "There is a demand for lighter lambs of around 12kg for the export market, but over 90% of them would be considered of poor conformation here." Matthews' suggestion is perhaps supported by the MLC grading figures which show Welsh performance as by far the worst, only 26% reaching the target against about 45% in Scotland and 56% in England. The structure of the Welsh industry and its focus on Mediterranean markets could make the low grading achievement understandable. As for the comparison between home produced and NZ lamb within the British market, the much smaller production enterprises in this country probably play a big part. A typical NZ farm has a breeding flock of several thousand ewes and a simple, grazing-only system, whereas British flocks are mostly of a few hundred head, with a profusion of breeds and complex systems. {{MEAT }}

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