Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) will use the Royal Welsh Winter Fair to highlight variations in suckler herd production costs on Welsh farms.

This will be particularly important as farmers review their systems under SFP rules.

Figures collected by the University of Wales for the Annual Farm Business Survey show that in 2004/05 the third of farms with highest costs recovered only 44% of the their costs from the market-place.

Only 88% of financial inputs were clawed back on the third with the lowest costs, and market returns covered 61% of the costs the middle-third suckler herd.

Huge differences in fixed costs are revealed in the figures.

On the top-third of farms inputs like labour, power, rent and finance amount to 128p/kg of liveweight produced.

On the bottom-third, fixed costs add up to 210p/kg.

“While some production costs are out of producers’ hands to some extent, those such as feed, forage, power and machinery, which are under their control, must be looked at,” says Prys Morgan, HCC’s industry development manager.