Urgent action needed as British beef prices 'fall through the floor'

Urgent action was needed to secure the future of British beef production, with the industry a victim of Brexit planning and cheap imports.


Alex Black, Farmers Guardian (UK)

06 Jul 2019


With finished cattle prices losing value week after week, farming groups have called for urgent and united action to support the industry.


But National Beef Association (NBA) chief executive Chris Mallon said the lack of substantial beef promotions and the steady retail price suggested demand was ‘far better than we are being told’.


He highlighted a lack of competition between processors was preventing differences in prices, with the producer share of the retail price now below 48 per cent.


Mr Mallon said retailers had lessened their commitment to UK farmers over the past five years, with almost £4 million less paid to farmers last week compared to 2018.


He also warned with the dairy beef sector ‘faring little better’ dairy farmers would be under pressure to move back to euthanising bull calves instead of finishing them.


He questioned how a nation supplying only 70 per cent of consumption could be oversupplied by domestic consumption and highlighted Irish prices were actually higher in some areas, but were still being used to fulfil UK orders.


“The problem obviously lies with an oversupply of imported products swamping the UK market,” he said, with imports acting as a loss leader to control the UK price.


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