Impacto económico y fluctuación de precios en el sector español de los pequeños rumiantes durante el COVID-19

  1. Vidaurreta Porrero, Irene
Supervised by:
  1. Bernardino Benito López Director
  2. Ángel Gómez Martín Director
  3. David Christian de la Fe Rodríguez Director

Defence university: Universidad de Murcia

Fecha de defensa: 13 May 2021

  1. Isabel María García Sánchez Chair
  2. Juan Carlos Corrales Romero Secretary
  3. José Luis Zafra Gómez Committee member

Type: Thesis


Information about the economic impact of a determinate disease on animal collectives is rarely available in the literature. The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 does not appear to affect small ruminants. However, the economic context generated by the COVID-19 could significantly affect the viability of sheep and goat herds. For this reason, after the declaration of the pandemic in Spain, we have studied the initial impact of COVID-19 on the small ruminant sector during the confinement period of 60 days. To this end, with the data provided by several farmers, we have analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on the milk and meat prices produced. Milk prices of dairy goat flocks suffered a substantial drop in April 2020, close to 4.5 cts EUR/liter compared to the previous month. In contrast, the monthly milk prices in sheep remained almost stable during this period, and even increases of more than EUR 6 cts were reported in comparison with the previous year. Global data provided by feedlots affecting 2750 Spanish flocks evidenced a lamb price drop ranging from 16.8% to 26.9% after the pandemic arrival. The goat kid meat market also suffered a reduction in prices per kg, near 12.5%; although, for some flocks, losses reached up to 40%. In the same line, 2 slaughterhouses reported a sudden sacrifice drop around 27% for lambs and goat kids sacrifices in April, in contrast with the usual sacrifice figures from the beginning of 2020 (Study 1). After the end of confinement and the resumption of economic activities, we have evaluated: 1) the effect of the pandemic on milk production during these months, considering milk production in the country as a whole, 2) the variability of lamb and goat meat prices in different areas, or 3) the effect of the pandemic on employability in the sector. Similarly, regarding lamb meat we analyzed whether the sale of the product under a European geographical quality (protected geographical indication, PGI) brand during the crisis had any influence on price volatility (Study 2). Results showed a negative economic impact on goat milk prices due to the pandemic was checked during the confinement and post-confinement months. Sheep milk prices remained stable. Lamb and goat kid meat prices showed a similar trend in comparison with 2019 during the pre-COVID-19 period. The total confinement period recorded a short interval of 1–2 weeks in which the prices declined. In contrast, once confinement was completed, meat prices for both ruminant species rapidly reached levels that existed before the coronavirus crisis. Overall data suggested the protective effect of the PGI marks on lamb meat. Finally, there was little or no readjustment of the workforce in the small ruminant flocks (Study 2). Finally, we evaluated the training in economy of the veterinary graduates. The curricula of the Spanish veterinary medicine faculties were analyzed. Secondly, we analyzed the opinion of both graduates and fifth-year veterinary students in relation to the economic skills acquired in the faculty, as well as their application to assess the impact of diseases on groups. The data showed that the ECTS taken to acquire the economic skills of veterinarians is less (3-6 ECTS in 5 years) than that of agricultural engineers (12 ECTS in 4 years). The results also showed that, although there are significant differences between graduates and students, both them are largely in agreement on the little training received to assess the impact of diseases, and on the need for an additional training after completing their studies. Therefore, these skills should be reinforced in the degree. Among the graduates, the opinion is similar, regardless of the years of professional experience (Study 3).