Livestock farmers are receiving just 48% of the final retail price of beef, with prices being less than their costs of production, the NFU has warned.
The union has issued an alert calling on the whole of the supply chain to back British beef farmers as current prices are unsustainable.
NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said: “The current situation has been compounded by DEFRA’s Farm Income forecasts which don’t make for pleasant reading for beef producers.
“Incomes are expected to fall significantly this year. Feed, fuel and fertiliser have seen a sharp rise and this trend is likely to continue.”
Mr Mackintosh said he understood the current economic situation faced by consumers but the reality was that many producers were questioning their future in the industry.
“Less and less will retailers be able to fill the gap with foreign beef,” he said.
“This supply simply isn’t guaranteed – production in Ireland looks set to fall and prices of beef from Brazil are on par with some countries in Europe; less beef is being exported.
“We are calling for processors and retailers to provide producers with fair and sustainable prices in order to ensure the viability of the industry. “