Farmers are complaining that a glut of South American beef is having a major impact on domestic beef prices.

Richard Haddock, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union livestock board blamed the supermarkets for a “Massive miscalculation” regarding domestic supplies.

Farm gate prices have fallen by 8% at a time of year when prices are normally at their highest.

Farmer’s are blaming the supermarkets for importing extra beef from South America in expectation of strong summer sales and a decline in domestic production.

Imports of Brazilian beef have risen 29% in the first quarter of the year to over 11,000 tons.

Sainsbury’s main UK beef supplier, Anglo Beef Processors, has put some of its abattoirs on a four-day week. By reducing the amount of beef it slaughters it is aiming to give its customers time to offload surplus stocks.