UK – The UK's National Farmers Union has hit out at retailers over recent levy board figures showing the shrinking margins farmers are receiving for beef.
EBLEX 2014 Market reports show that, while retail beef prices have remained stable for consumers, farmgate prices have dropped.
The producer share of final retail price is well adrift of the 58 per cent received in March and three per cent below the 51 per cent in the second half of 2013.
NFU beef group chairman Andy Foot said the situation was ‘infuriating for farmers’, especially after a March increase.
He said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ by retailers who only last year stated how keen they were to ensure a future for British beef.
“We work in an industry with a long production cycle and low margins and we simply cannot afford to be toyed with,” said Mr Foot.
“It is a significant investment to buy store cattle, let alone suckler cows, so how is a farmer meant to do so with any degree of confidence of a return on his or her investment when you can see prices slashed overnight?”
Retailer price drops come in the middle of Great British Beef Week and on the back of the horse meat scandal, a source of deep disappointment for NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe.
“With retailers making an increasing margin from beef, farmers need to see an end to this short termism,” said Mr Sercombe.
“This is completely incompatible with an industry that works in years rather than months."
TheMeatSite News Desk