Cash Crisis For Beef Producers

UK - Cash link between grain harvest and suckler trade must not be broken, warns National Beef Association (NBA) Scotland’s chairman, Hamish McBean.
calendar icon 1 October 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

The Scottish Government would be well advised to join other EU members whose Governments have negotiated an advance on 2010’s SFP, normally due in December. The money is needed now, to alleviate the crisis facing beef producers as a result of the disastrous harvest, he said.

‘If farmers in the Republic of Ireland and on the Continent can get an advance on the SFP to maintain their cash flow, surely the Scottish Government can negotiate the same deal for us?’ queries Mr McBean.

The worst winter in decades has been followed by a late spring and poor summer. Thousands of acres of grain are still to be harvested, while straw rots in the fields. Sodden fields and wet grain make the work of today’s huge combine harvesters difficult and costly. Grass growth is poor in both quality and quantity, while the proliferation of weeds will seriously affect next year’s stock carrying capacity.

The rise in feed costs, due to shortages and high transport costs, has coincided with a 29 per cent drop in real terms in farm gate prices for beef since 1990, which means that finishers may lack both the funds and, more significantly, the confidence, to buy freely at this autumn’s store cattle sales. Poor prices could also have a knock-on effect in breeders’ ability to replace non-productive cows or replace PIs in the BVD eradication programme.

‘If cattle finishers are unable to buy cattle, beef production across Northern Scotland will suffer a body blow, and the vital structure linking beef producers to cereal growers will be ripped apart’, warns Mr McBean.

‘It is vital that the quality of Scotch Beef and assurance of provenance is not allowed to fluctuate, in order to maintain our hard-won reputation for excellence both at home and abroad’, adds Peter Thompson, secretary of NBA Scotland.

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