This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. IN THIS ISSUE

Wonderful Winter Fair

Farming news and views in Wales

January 2014

£1.50 TOUGH TIMES: Only 59% of suckler calf enterprises

covered their production costs in 2012/13. PICTURE: Debbie James.

Pages 18-19

Taking stock to add value

page 12

Partnerships can bear fruit

page 22

Subscriptions 0500 101606

Profits recover after tough year

WELSH beef and lamb producers are experienc- ing higher prices and lower costs after ayear which saw many failing to cover their production

costs. According to data analysed by Aberystwyth University,there wasamajor gapbetween the incomes of Wales’ top and bot- tom performing farms during 2012-13. The Wales Farm Income

by Debbie James

Booklet shows thatthe average gross margin per ewe on hill and upland farms during 2012-13 fell by 30%, areduction of £11 per ewe on hill farms and £18 per ewe on upland farms compared to the previous 12 months. The gross margin declined by

20% on lowland sheep farms becauseoutput had fallen by between six and 13%, while costs

increased by between 10 and 14 per cent. One hundred and twen- ty four sheep farms were analysed and only87% of the production costs were covered. John Richards,HybuCig

Cymru’sindustry and market information officer,said it wasno surprise to those within the industry thatmanyenterprises had faced economic uncertainty. “It wasaperiod when lamb

prices in particular were sub- dued, and input costs rose signif- icantly,”hesaid.

Only59% of suckler calf enterprises coveredtheir produc- tion costs.Suckler farms in the bottom thirdhad production costs thatweremorethan double those in the top third. Mr Richards said acontribut-

ing factor would be thatthose in the top thirdproduced 15 %–or 36kg –morebeef per cowthan those in the bottom third, high- lighting the importance of health and fertility on beef farms. “It can be seen thatonagross margin basis both sheep and

suckler calf enterprises made a positive return last year,although it wasasignificantlyreduced return when it comes to sheep. When fixedcosts areincluded, however,the picturechanges markedly,”hesaid. The largest costs were feed and

forage,followedbypower and machinery. But the good news is thatsince

March, lamb and beef market prices have been consistently abovelast year’slevels and many significant costs have levelled out.

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