OpenFields

1169: Sheep marts and abattoirs

This paper is summarised from ‘Chapter 2: The UK sheep industry infrastructure’ of the report on the sheep industry from The Royal Agricultural College and the Rumenco 100 Club Annual Fellowship in Beef and Sheep by Nick Allen Sector Director, EBLEX. Further chapters will be summarised in later papers.

Year of Publication2010

Auction marts sell about half of slaughter sheep and are still a key social and information network for farmers. Several town centre sites have been closed to be replaced by amalgamated facilities with additional services. Time pressures on farmers, decreasing sheep numbers, fewer buyers and disease could all present future challenges. The abattoir sector has become very concentrated – 7 companies account for 42.6% of GB sheep slaughterings. Meeting tight supermarket specifications forces abattoirs to procure from larger and larger areas – they should work more with producer collaborations to secure supplies and help drive quality and consistency up.

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