UK imports of beef and lamb showed a marked drop last year as home production registered an increase.
The English Beef and Lamb Executive said that during 2005 production of UK beef was up 5% to 744,000 tonnes, while sheep meat production rose 4% to 317,000 tonnes.
Much of the beef production increase was as a result of producers maximising carcase weights, while production in Ireland was down and supplies in the rest of Europe were also running lower, said Eblex.
Restrictions on imports of Brazilian beef due to an outbreak of foot and mouth also had an effect.
Meanwhile, sheep production at home recovered from the drought-affected performance of 2004, resulting in an extra 500,000 prime lambs available for the market.
n New Zealand’s exports of chilled lamb to the UK rose 10% year-on-year in 2005 to 18,000 tonnes. However, total sales of NZ lamb in the UK fell 5% to 94,000 tonnes.