Welsh Lamb – How Much Is Produced & How Much Is Exported?

24 Oct

I had a question sent into me asking details of Welsh lamb production, how much is exported and how much is eaten in Wales. I followed this question through only because it came from one of our Best Of Welsh & Borders, (BOW), producers and it is a service we offer them if they don’t wish to have their name put forward. So I sent the questions through to the press office to be dealt with as a Freedom Of Information request. The press office then sent them through to Hybu Cig Cymru, (HCC), Meat Promotion Wales. Follows is HCC’s response:

1 – What was the total production of lamb in Wales in 2012?

In 2012, 61,500 tonnes of sheepmeat was produced at Welsh abattoirs.

2 – What was the total importation of lamb in 2012?

In 2012, 86,100 tonnes of sheepmeat was imported into the UK.

3 – What was the total consumption of Welsh Lamb in Wales in 2012?

Total consumption of Welsh Lamb in Wales in 2012 was approximately 3,200 tonnes.

4 – What was the average deadweight of lambs produced in Wales in 2012?

The average carcase weight for a lamb slaughtered in Wales was 18.6kg.

5 – What was the average deadweight of lambs imported to Wales in 2012?

The data for the average deadweight of lambs imported into the UK from overseas is not available.

I have now passed the response to our BOW producer and suffice to say his comment on these figures, is not ‘of the tone’ that I could quote to you!!!

The one conclusion that I’ve made and is patently clear, is that the figures are not clear. Now you have to understand dear readers, that figures have never been a strong point with me so do bear with me. I’ve browsed through ‘Food and Drink Wales (published July 2013)’ where it states states that 34,000 tonnes of Welsh lamb is consumed in the UK and that 69,000 tonnes of Welsh lamb goes overseas.

Then onto the ‘Decade of Success’ an HCC publication, again from 2013, where it says 35% of Welsh sheep meat is consumed outside Britain.

Now even with my poor mathematical ability, these two statements do not agree, despite the fact that they are supposedly coming from the same source, HCC, within weeks of each other. To add to my confusion, if further confusion was needed, when HCC talks about exports, they tend to talk about monetary amounts of export, rather than tonnages.

Ploughing on further and trying the ‘HCC Little Book of Meat Facts 2013,’ there it states that per capita consumption of sheep meat in kg/person/year is 4.4. So if I take a rough population of Wales at 3.0 million, we consume 13,200 tonnes of sheep meat. But yet again discrepancies emerge, comparing sheep meat with that of lamb, but I think I can safely say that there is much more lamb eaten than mutton. So in Wales we eat 13,200 tonnes, but only 3,200 tonne of that is Welsh meat. Which, in my view is hardly a figure to be proud of.

HCC has a tag of Meat Promotion Wales, but I do wonder what this sub title actually means and wonder too why Wales imports  so much lamb? Perhaps Meat Promotion Wales doesn’t mean promote Welsh lamb in Wales, for Welsh people to eat, but enables HCC to be able to blow their trumpet on how much Welsh lamb they can export.



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  1. meat man

    October 25, 2013 at 9:46 am

    These figures are very confusing, but even of more concern is the low consumption of Welsh lamb in Wales. Shouldn’t that be an obvious one?
    Shouldn’t HCC’s first priority be to get Welsh people eating their own Welsh lamb? Why, oh why are we importing so much foreign lamb which must be New Zealand lamb. It’s a disgrace.
    Push Welsh lamb to Welsh people, that should be HCC’s mantra. I don’t understand why after all these years that HCC obviously haven’t been able to do that. That’s a big failure. Seems to me there’s much more kudos for HCC pushing meat exports to Germany, Italy, Japan, Dubai or wherever, whilst the Welsh lamb home market is a disgrace.
    I’m ashamed of this situation.

  2. beef boy

    October 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    This variety of figures must make sense to HCC, but sure don’t to me.
    My worry is as last comment has said, why can’t HCC get Welsh people eating Welsh lamb and Welsh beef? Is that too difficult for them to do? Shouldn’t that be where HCC were starting from? Not as exciting as trips abroad though. And it would mean trips abroad would be cut down and our Minister would have to tone down his crowing on exports, but if this now started to happen, that would make HCC have to help Welsh butchers. Now that would give us a shock for sure.
    Lamb man has upset a lot of us and I agree with others, as I too think he’s on HCC payroll, perhaps he’s on the chicken section.

  3. trader

    October 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Total confusion with these figures
    confuse the trade and ignore the Welsh public – let them eat New Zealand lamb