Wales has been left with just one large abattoir for the slaughtering of cattle, following the closure of the Randall Parker Foods (RDF) beef line at Llandiloes, Powys.
Farmers now face transporting cattle to the St Merryn plant in Merthyr Tydfil or to abattoirs in England, with reports of some preparing to travel 200 miles to take cattle to a Yorkshire slaughterhouse.
RDF blamed the closure on falling throughput, with a drop from 400 cattle a week to less than 100 over the last few years.
Sheep processing will be retained at the plant and the company says it has not ruled out the possibility that cattle slaughtering could be recommence if economics changed.
There are still a number of smaller local Welsh abattoirs slaughtering low volumes of cattle.
Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts said: “We completely understand the economic reasons for stopping the beef processing by Randall Parker Foods at the Llanidloes site.
“However, it is bad news for our farmers.”
He added that the closure adds to farmer costs, increases the environmental footprint of beef production and means that slaughter levies are not collected in England but Wales, reducing the amount of money for promotion of Welsh meat.
Defra figures show 86,800 Welsh cattle were slaughtered between January and July this year resulting in production of 26,200 tonnes.
That number was the highest since 2015 and 17 per cent more than in the same period last year.