No excuses for a two tier system insists NFU

Farming leaders have insisted that there is no justification for a two-tier price system on beef now that the vertebral column (VC) age limit has been raised from 24 to 30 months.

Since the 24 month limit was set two years ago, there have been huge additional costs involved with processing beef carcasses from older animals. The costs, up to £150 in some cases, meant that many butchers and processors have refused to purchase older carcases.

As a result, farmers have received less money for older animals, which has led to a drop in the production of slow-grown, grass-fed, beef and threatened traditional breeds such as the Galloway.

NFU livestock board chairman, Alistair Mackintosh said: "This is good news as the legislation caused an unnecessary two-tier market for different aged cattle. It also imposed huge costs on processors and butchers whilst reducing the supply of bone-in cuts to customers.

"The later maturing cattle breeds which fit into the 24 to 30 month age range were heavily discounted at farm gate as the controls imposed greater cost burdens in the supply chain. This latest decision proves there was no justification for the regulation in the first place."