BEEF FARMERS in Scotland face losing slaughter premium cash on over-30-month cattle as processors struggle to cope with demand.

Cattle that cannot be processed after the end of this year will not qualify for the 54 a head payment.

John Cameron, a former chairman of the National Beef Association in Scotland who runs an 800-cow suckler herd, said the shortage of rendering facilities was “not acceptable” for a government-operated scheme.

“SEERAD should have foreseen this problem – why are they not phasing out the slaughter premium rather than ending it abruptly? Saying there are more cattle than anticipated is not acceptable.”

Costs saved by dismantling the OTMS should be used to compensate producers who miss out through no fault of their own, he added.

Fewer producers are expected to be affected in other UK regions.