Beef price drop threatens business for Borders farmers

Borders farmers warn they could go out of business due to drops in the price of beef. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is expected to announce subsidy payments scheme for farmers in event of independence.

Supermarkets defend British Beef sales

Farmers say the drop in the price of beef in Scotland is down to supermarkets importing too much beef from overseas.

They say less British Beef is sold, in favour of cheaper meat from across the EU.

But the British Retail Consortium say they are committed to selling meat from the UK.

“The vast majority of beef sold in major supermarkets continues to be sourced from Britain and is clearly labelled as such to help customers choose what they buy. Retailers are investing in their own chains, paying the best prices to their beef farmers who supply them and are not the cause of this short term fall. In fact, this April the farming industry produced a report that showed farmers’ share of the shop price of meat and milk has steadily increased over the last 15 years, as retailers cut the shelf price to help consumers whilst ensuring producers still receive a good price."

– Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability

"British supermarkets are continuing to give positive and strong support for British beef supporters, with the vast majority of beef sold produced in this country. Figures over the last 10 years have shown how farmer margins have steadily increased and we see a very positive future for beef farmers in the UK.”

– Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability

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Scotch beef 'crisis' if prices continue to fall

Farmers in the Scottish Borders warn there will be a crisis in Scotch Beef if the prices they receive for prime cattle continues to drop.

In the last six months the cost of a prime cattle has fallen 25% from around £1,400 to £1,100. For some farmers, that's a loss of around £60,000 a year.

Farmers say that if the cost they receive for their cattle doesn't improve, they will have to give up producing livestock for beef.

"It has been almost like a perfect storm, there has been an increase in supply from the continent, we have seen the Irish price go tumbling down as well and we have also seen because of quite a soft winter a lot of animals coming onto the market at once, compounding the issue."

– NFU Scotland Livestock Policy manager John Sleigh