Farmers' unions throughout the UK have joined forces to call for higher beef prices to prevent a winter of discontent and many producers going out of business.

In a joint statement, the livestock chairmen of the four UK unions said a year-long decline in the beef price had already left many producers operating below the cost of production. Production costs meanwhile are escalating as a result of rising feed, fuel and bedding prices.

According to the NFU, the UK is now only 70% self-sufficient in the supply of beef. Prices to farmers have dropped to about £2.60 per kg over the last year, while supermarkets are selling beef at an average of more than £5.60 per kg.

Meanwhile, Eblex is allocating an extra £100,000 to help English beef producers with certification needed to tap into nine additional non-EU markets, in effect doubling their number of export options.

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