Farmer anger towards beef prices is not only to be found here in Ireland – UK farmers are also incensed over recent figures which show a widening of the gap between farm gate price and retail price.

In figures released from Eblex, as farm gate prices have dropped the price paid by consumers for beef has remained stable. The latest indication to March is that the producer share of final retail price is well back from the 58% received in March 2013, and 3% below the 51% received in the second half of 2013.

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “These figures up to the end of February will be frustrating news for British beef farmers, who should be celebrating Great British Beef Week and a bright global future for red meat production.

“Beef supply is not a tap which can be turned on and off at a whim, and at a time when farmers are concerned about the reductions in their price as well as ongoing uncertainties over CAP reform, the idea that retailers are making a bigger margin off the back of lower farm gate prices will not be sending the long term signals for investment in the future of the industry that retailers have said they want to see” Mr Sercombe continued.

“Whilst the supply and demand situation has been finely balanced so far in 2014, you have to question whether retailers holding onto their margins will be affecting volumes of sales. Farmers are used to hearing that retailers want to work with them and support British farming, but they need to see action, and revelations such as this do nothing to boost confidence or prove their commitment.”