Significant differences between top and bottom performing red meat producers are a continued theme in the Scottish red meat sector.
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)’s Cattle and Sheep Enterprise Profitability document for 2015 showed wide variations in financial and technical performance between the top third and bottom third of producers.
Stuart Ashworth, head of economics services with QMS said: "Top producers continue to be characterised by high physical, or technical, performance, strong control over costs and maximising returns from the market place."
He suggested this gap had closed slightly on the previous year, but the top third of producers remained consistently good in their performance.
In suckler herds surveyed, producers operating in the top third of gross margins achieved higher calf rearing percentages and also sold heavier calves in addition to gaining better margins for their sales.
“Variable costs per kg of calf reared were lower among the top third and fixed costs were also firmly controlled. In all cases top third producers had lower fixed costs per kg of output even if, on occasion, fixed cost per cow was higher than the average,” said Mr Ashworth.
It was a similar picture in the sheep sector, where the top performers reared more lambs per ewe than average, increasing income by £13-14/ewe.
The document highlighted 2014 was a tough year for the cattle trade with only 29 per cent of store cattle producers achieving a positive net margin.