While beef finishers have benefited from current trading conditions, suckler producers have borne the brunt of greater input costs and continue to suffer from low profitability, according to new figures released today by EBLEX.
Unveiling costs per kilo for the first time ahead of the full Business Pointers publication in October, the statistics show top third intensive and extensive finishers are producing a kg of beef for £1.25 and £1.41 respectively (liveweight). However, Lowland suckler costs for the top third are around £1.81 and LFA suckler herds £2.41, leaving producers struggling.
"I think the message is that beef producers are moving towards profitability, but there is a distinct difference in conditions for suckler herd producers and for finishers," said EBLEX Chairman John Cross.
"In the last year we have seen significant spikes in the cost of fertiliser, feed prices and energy charges which have affected everyone. However, there have been improvements in technical efficiency that are very encouraging.
"This year for the first time we are producing the Business Pointers statistics as cost per kilo figures as this is really what the farmers want to know and be able to benchmark against. Issuing headline figures now ahead of the full report gives everyone a chance to take stock.
"When we analyse the full figures we will be able to see where most improvements can be made and so tailor our Better Returns Programme activities accordingly."
The figures cover the period March 2008 to March 2009 and are based on liveweights at point of sale. The total costs include both cash and non-cash costs. An initial breakdown of the costs can be found at www.eblex.org.uk
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