Prices offer mixed picture for Scots livestock producers this Christmas

Scottish livestock farmers and crofters are facing mixed fortunes of farmgate prices as consumers prepare for the festive season.

The farm-gate price for prime lambs is buoyant with strong demand driving gains in the market, which is supported by a tightness in supply over last year.

However, beef prices have been much lower than hoped, with concern that current levels could affect the viability of many farms.

Worrying beef prices

Prices for most of November have been generally lower than the same time last year and there are no signs of a pre-Christmas boost despite the expected increase in demand.

NFU Scotland has been encouraging shoppers to support Scottish food and farming ahead of Christmas and will continue to encourage them to buy Scottish and local food.

Charlie Adam, NFU Scotland Livestock Committee chairman, said: “The market situation ahead of the festive season has been a mixed bag for many of our livestock members.

“The prime lamb trade is very strong, and this is welcome following a year of challenging weather conditions.

However, the lower returns in the beef market coupled with significantly increased costs of farm inputs will be presenting challenges to farm business viability.

“Those of us working in the sector would have liked to have seen a demand-driven boost in prices ahead of the festive season.”

Adam explained that NFU Scotland had contacted officials at Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers to convey members concern about the challenging returns in the beef sector.

“In these uncertain times, compounded by ongoing political turmoil, farmers and crofters need to see returns which provide their businesses with the financial security to invest and build resilience,” he said.

“If Scotland is to build its food and drink turnover then our iconic beef and lamb sectors must be able to invest in business efficiency.”