WITH beef and sheep farmers “getting it from all angles”, as profits plummet and costs continue to soar, there are calls for an increase in the price of meat.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has said a stronger beef and lamb prices is needed “if our farmers are to have any chance of keeping their head above water.”
The UFU is lobbying processors, retailers, government officials, and local politicians in a bid to help alleviate the pressure currently facing farm families, as fertiliser prices continue to skyrocket, beef and breeding sheep rations increasing, and the cost of red diesel also rising.
“Our beef and sheep farmers are extremely on edge about the way things are going with crippling production costs reaching levels never seen before – it’s completely unsustainable,” said UFU beef and lamb chairman Pat McKay.
“Everyone is uptight about whether or not they’ll still be in business by the end of the season. Farm families are under immense pressure.”
Mr McKay added, “It’s not only the cost of fertiliser and ruminant feed, which apparently is going to take another jump soon, other inputs such as lime, bale plastic, grass seed and minerals have increased recently too.
“Beef and sheep farmers are getting it from all angles and it’s severely impacting their profit margins. What we need is for the market to provide a stronger beef and lamb price if our farmers are to have any chance of keeping their head above water.”
The UFU said a recent gain in beef was “minor in comparison to the production costs farmers are enduring,” and noted prices for lighter and plainer types of store cattle and drop calves were falling. The union also referred to the drop in spring lamb quotes, despite the expense of producing lamb increasing.
“It has been an extremely uncertain spring to date and it’s effecting the confidence of our primary suckler and dairy beef calf rearers. They need certainty to plan for the future,” said Mr McKay.
“The only way to sustain our world leading beef and sheep sectors is for the rest of the supply chain to show their support for farmers. We need our retailers, wholesale suppliers and processors to share some of the increased costs, helping us to get through this very difficult period.
“Farmers cannot absorb all the expense alone nor should they have to as primary producers.”
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