Farmers call for beef and lamb price rises

Farming leaders are calling for further increases in farmgate prices for beef and lamb to safeguard long-term sustainability of the sectors.

The NFU is calling for further increases in farmgate prices for beef and lamb to safeguard long-term sustainability of the sectors.

This follows the release of the latest EBLEX Business Pointers report, which shows that beef finisher units faced a 17% rise in costs in the year ended March 2008. In the same period, sheep breeding flocks saw sales drop by 12-13%.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said: "We continue to experience a marked increase in feed prices, with recent figures showing a rise of 37% between March 2007 and March 2008.

"Given that feed costs can represent up to one-third of production costs for intensive beef finishing units, the impact on profitability cannot be underestimated.

"In the same period, other costs have increased. For example, fertiliser costs have increased by more than 70%, fuel continues to rise, as do costs associated with animal health, in particular TB and Bluetongue.

"What this EBLEX report shows is that, despite recent and long overdue rises in the price paid at farmgate, the increased input costs faced by livestock farmers are negating any gain.

"I make no apology in calling for the supply chain to deliver further increases to livestock farmers to cover production costs and allow primary producers to secure a return that allows them to invest with confidence in a future in livestock production."

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