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Home markets thriving amidst port disruption

Livestock farmers urged to work with auctioneers and be aware of demand.

Farmers should take advantage of the knowledge and resources available through their local livestock auctioneers and benefit from a strong home market demand, amidst the disruption and chaos at ports witnessed this week, the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) says.

While export markets have effectively been temporarily closed by the travel bans enforced due to the impact of the new variant of Covid-19, the LAA says a strong home market demand has provided a welcome boost.

Auctioneers across the country have been closely monitoring the situation, as they have throughout the pandemic, keeping farmers abreast of a constantly evolving situation, this week exacerbated by the delays and disruptions at UK ports.

“In this circumstance, it is the new variant of Covid-19 that has created the backlogs, delays and disruptions at our ports,” explains Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the LAA.

“Regardless of any future trade deal, we can expect more of the same in the coming months, with the added red-tape, bureaucracy and paperwork required for exports,” he adds.

Despite the challenges to the export trade, at least in the short-term, Mr Dodds says the strong home market points to the opportunities farmers can exploit, with the support of their livestock auction market.

“We have seen an excellent trade this week, and it is important this buoyant home market is supplied,” says Mr Dodds. “This thriving local market will remain for the foreseeable future, particularly in light of the new tier announcements and travel restrictions.”

Red-meat sales are booming as consumers are choosing to treat themselves at home, particularly with the closure of pubs and restaurants in most parts of the country during this festive period.

“It is a captive audience, and if this pandemic has taught us nothing else, it is the fact that the consumer is taking great comfort in having access to home-sourced, high quality UK produce, basing their preferences on the provenance and high standard of animal welfare guaranteed in the UK,” says Mr Dodds.

The Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) is working on behalf of its members and the wider red-meat sector to maintain the supply chain in both home and export markets. Its member markets and auctioneers play an invaluable role and are a source of information and advice for producers across the country.

“Speak to your auctioneer and work with your market to be aware of demand,” Mr Dodds advises.

“Markets have been supporting farmers and maintaining a competitive trade throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so as we look ahead to the early part of 2021, and the additional challenges of a post-Brexit environment,” he says.

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