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Farmers Call for Fairer Share of Beef Retail Price

03 March 2016

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland Livestock Committee is calling for a fairer share of the retail price of beef to be fed down the chain, saying that less than half the retail value of beef is coming back to the farm.

Beef prices have tumbled in recent weeks and the average deadweight price for steers is now 32p per kilo lower than in the same week last year. However, retail prices for beef remain static.

For the week ending 20 February, the average deadweight price for steers in Scotland was 340p per kg. In the same week in 2015, the price was 372p per kg.

Last spring saw beef prices tumble to a low point of 338p in May and beef producers are calling on the wider supply chain to deliver a fairer share of the margins currently being made on sales of beef to avoid further worrying declines in spring 2016.

The average retail price of beef, according to AHDB, has been hovering around £7 per kilo for the last six months. That means beef farmers are getting less than half the money that consumers are spending when they buy beef.

Livestock chairman Charlie Adam said: “Many shoppers buying quality Scotch beef will be surprised to know that more than half the money they are paying is going to retailers and processors and the share going back to the farmer producing the beef is falling.

“This is a worrying start to the year and we do not want to see the price for beef drop any further. There is a justifiable concern amongst farmers that the amount of money being fed down from the consumer isn’t enough.

“The falling price comes at a time when industry is working hard to bolster sales. QMS is running its Scotch beef promotion during February and March. We hope this will not only stimulate demand for Scotch beef heading into the spring but, more importantly, also build the price going back to farmers.

“NFUS members have also been rolling up their sleeves and doing their bit for meat consumption at supermarket stores in recent weeks. From Inverness to Dumfries, we have been promoting Scottish produce at Aldi stores convincing the consumer to buy Scottish and there are more events planned in the coming weeks.

“The livestock committee is also organising a number of auction mart meetings to coincide with store cattle sales. We want to speak directly to beef finishers about the impact of poor prices on their business and what more the Union can do to help.

“Given the integrated structure of the Scottish beef industry – which involves both calf producers and finishers – it is crucial that all get a profitable return for their efforts during this difficult time.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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