Northern Irish suckler beef producers lost 70p/kg in 2011-12, and this season’s appalling weather means costs of production are likely to remain high.

According to the Farm Business Survey, average costs of production were £3.82/kg deadweight, 6% more than the previous year due to higher variable costs like forage and concentrates. With producers having lost money for the past three years at least, and likely to do so again in 2012-13, there was considerable concern about the future of the industry, said a report by the Livestock and Meat Commission.

“These concerns are heightened by the fact that these costs exclude any allowance for producers’ own labour, land or working capital. Costs have continued to rise since then, with feed prices rising sharply over the summer and into the autumn of 2012.” Concentrate sales in July and August had risen by 35%, illustrating producers’ dependence on bought-in feed this year, it added.

“The continued dependence of the industry on the single farm payment should give pause for thought, not just to individual producers, but to the industry generally, given that the current round of CAP reform is nearing completion.”



Market report