Farmgate falls cause fears

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh is calling on the whole supply chain to work closely in the coming weeks to help deliver sustainable beef and lamb prices.

The call comes after falls in farmgate prices for both beef and lamb in recent days. Mackintosh said: "Producer confidence is very fragile in the red meat sector at present. Escalating input costs are putting enormous pressure on red meat production and cuts in producer prices are really hitting the confidence of livestock farmers.

"We know that we have a product in demand with our consumers. Over the course of the past 12 months, household purchases of beef have risen by over five per cent and purchases of lamb by three per cent in expenditure terms. With supply unchanged, recent farmgate price decreases cannot be justified taking into account the recent and long term prospects for red meat production and consumption."

Mackintosh added: "I hope that producers, processors and retailers can work closely in the coming weeks to match supply with demand and help us to manage what I believe to be a short term issue which needs to be overcome to a long term sustainable UK livestock sector.

"As producers, we need to carefully consider how we market our stock and the timing of sales could be crucial. We need to ensure that our purchasers help us to do this by clearly providing the industry with the right signals to invest with confidence in a future in red meat production."

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