Sir; I was surprised by the tone of the article and the comments attributed to Mark Topliff from the MLC regarding beef price ('Beef values likely to remain stable', The Grocer, 20 January, p56).

The steady rise in price reflects not only the introduction of competition in the market, but also an increase in production costs. It is particularly concerning that the recent increase in input costs has risen faster than the increase in the farmgate price.

This has left many livestock farms in an unprofitable and unsustainable position whereby they are expected to absorb the price falls. It is essential that the market recognises that, in order to provide a sustainable return on investment, prices will need to adjust in the medium term to reflect the true cost of production.

We hope the market will operate in an efficient manner in order that consumers can be provided with the quality of produce they demand. Artificially deflating the market value is just not sustainable for anybody.