The coronavirus that has brought the country to a near standstill and tragically cost over 35,000 lives has overshadowed everything over the last 15 weeks. In spite of this, farming and food production has continued, and other than a few shortages at the start of the lockdown, the country has enjoyed an almost continued supply of food.
Organic food production has continued to supply consumers with good wholesome food, produced naturally and unadulterated by harmful chemicals. The growth in sales of organic foods has continued during this period of shutdown and many organic retailers and box scheme operators have recorded increased demand.
Organic livestock Conventional finished cattle prices took a dive in the last 2 weeks of March amidst the turmoil and uncertainty with the instant disappearance of food outlets like restaurants, pubs and beef burger chains. The organic trade for finished cattle largely weathered that initial storm and other than a few operational difficulties, causing a slow down in processing in some plants, the demand for organic cattle looks promising with demand likely to out strip supply in the coming weeks.
Store cattle demand in early April was slow with graziers and finishers initially nervous to commit to cattle in the confused climate, since then, the grass and the demand for finished cattle has settled nerves and demand has been very strong.
Organic dairy heifers and cows have followed a similar trend with the overnight loss of organic milk outlets making some producer outlets for organic milk becoming sluggish, but in recent weeks confidence is returning and we have seen the demand for cows and heifers return.
The UK Agriculture Bill The UK Agriculture Bill must be of particular concern to organic livestock producers as the trade amendments on food standards were voted down, it is vitally important that imported products have to undergo the same food, welfare and environmental standards as home producers have to adhere to. This will avoid UK farmers being undercut by imports and consumers unwittingly being sold foodstuffs produced to lower standards.
The weather will play an important part in the fortunes of producers in the coming weeks and months, if it continues to be dry then I would expect the demand for store cattle to ease and the availability of finished cattle to be poor and that will result in higher finished cattle prices.
The Organic Livestock Marketing Co-operative are looking for all categories of organic stores to meet demand from finishers. Demand for organic products particularly beef is strong. This is reflected in the returns that organic store cattle producers are receiving for their store cattle. If you have any available or if you just want advice with no obligation please contact Peter Jones on 01829 730 580 / 07720 892 922.
For more information on working with OLMC generally please call one of the following numbers::
OLMC office on 01829730580
Rachel Cooke on 07720892922
David Bostock on 07734808050
Ian turner on 07970197619