SOUTH-WEST beef production faces long-term decline unless producers receive 250p/kg for an R4L steer next year.

At this week‘s Beef and Growing Cattle South West event chairman Bill Harper warned: “After CAP reform and the decoupling of support payments farmers must receive a price for high quality beef that allows them to make a living and a profit that encourages them to stay in business.”

Unless a fair price is forthcoming, Mr Harper said he would be forced to dispose of his 150 suckler cows rather than produce at a loss.

Many other beef producers would be forced to take similar action, he added. 

“People will hang on for a year but no more and their decision will be felt throughout the supply chain.”

To safeguard south west beef production and prevent many farmers switching to sheep production, a 350kg lw suckled calf must fetch a break-even cost of at least £500, he said.