Despite the additional paperwork required for exports, red meat sales to Europe and further afield are helping to bolster UK farm-gate prices for beef, lamb and pork.

According to Jonathan Eckley, head of international trade at AHDB, exports remain key to adding value to domestic prices through sales of premium cuts while also helping to balance the carcase through fifth quarter product sales.

In 2023, he said beef exports were worth £583m to the industry with pork exports valued at £570m. Shipments of sheepmeat brought in the most at £562m.

“Europe is still critically import to the UK, with 94% of our lamb exports destined to cross the Channel and about 80% of our beef exports. However, just over 50% of pigmeat is destined for outside of Europe.”

The British Meat Processors Association estimates that exports account for almost 17% of the total revenue of the UK meat processing sector, a figure which is influenced hugely by exchange rates, global supply, shipping logistics and demand.