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Information from the NFU in the South West

As at April 2020.

Retail: For those supplying into retail of whatever sort, demand has been through the roof. Poultry meat demand is up 75% and eggs up more than 100%, with some ranges reporting 300%. For context the Christmas surge in the poultry sector would be more like 30-40%. Bread and flour is up 200% in some ranges and fresh produce, potatoes, beef, lamb etc all up substantially. Farm shops and local food outlets have seen unprecedented demand as well.

Food services: On the flip side those supplying into hospitality and service sector markets, demand has collapsed over-night. This has led to big price collapses in some dairy and meat processors with consequential impacts on farm, notably in dairy and lamb. Beef price is expected to see similar shock shortly off the back of McDonalds announcing closure of its restaurants and it is one of British farming’s biggest customers.

Seasonal labour shortage: as a result of global movement restrictions, there will be a huge shortage of labour in the horticulture sector this year as workers will not be able to travel to the UK. In response to this shortage ‘Pick for Britain’ has been launched to bring workers and employers together.
Public access and rights of way: The challenge is balancing the importance of keeping the country-side open for public health and wellness and protecting our vulnerable farmers and rural communities as a result of increased public use.

Supplies to farms: There are reports of problems sourcing supplies onto farms for example fencing material, cattle bedding (sand and sawdust) and livestock feed. Red diesel was difficult to get onto farm at the start of the pandemic, but this does now appear to have eased and farmers are reporting that they are receiving deliveries.

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