THE NATIONAL Beef Association has written to industry representatives and government asking them to support price transparency in all areas of prime cattle marketing.

Chief executive Robert Forster said the removal of coupled subsidies in January meant farmers would rely more heavily on market income to generate profit and remain in business.

“And farmers must not use the single farm payment to subsidise the beef trade,” he added.

Mr Forster said the prices published by abattoirs did not reflect the actual amount paid to farmers.

“We know some companies can take off less than £3 a head after compulsory levies while others can find ways of deducting more than £18 a carcass.”

But Peter Scott, director of the British Meat Processors‘ Association, said: “It‘s really a matter for individual meat plants.

“The contract will have been discussed with the farmer, who is free to choose to supply a different abattoir if he is unsatisfied.”