British beef farmers are facing a ‘much more dire situation’ than their Irish counterparts as the unions renewed calls for a support package and prices continued to fall.
Irish beef farmers were due to receive a €100 million (£90m) aid fund, with €50m (£45m) coming from the European Union.
NFU livestock board chairman Richard Findlay urged the Government to put forward the case for similar measures.
Mr Findlay said: “We feel the Government should be making the same case the Irish Government did. We have had market disruption. You could argue the Irish beef package could be a part of more disruption.”
Mr Findlay said the price drop meant farmers had lost all their profit margins and more.
He also called for more innovation and product development, not just from supermarkets and processors, but from AHDB.
Mr Findlay wanted to see a more sustained campaign to encourage consumers to eat red meat all-year round, rather than the annual shorter campaigns which he felt had a limited long-term effect.
NFU Scotland livestock policy manager John Armour said the union had significant concerns around the Irish support package and the lack of additional support for Scottish producers.
The Scottish Government confirmed it had written to the UK Government requesting action and was awaiting a response.
Mr Armour said: “There needs to be a greater sense of urgency from those in power.”
He added NFUS had launched a #BackScotchBeef campaign during the period of ‘unsustainable market returns’ and was also supporting the Quality Meat Scotland ‘Meat with Integrity’ campaign.
Chris Dodds, chief executive of the Livestock Auctioneers Association, said the live rings had been impacted, but not to the same extent as deadweight and there had been a knock-on effect on some store cattle categories.
He said: “In the ring, if there are other people looking for the same, they have to step up to the mark.”
Mr Dodds supported the unions’ call for an aid package.
He said while the UK remained a member of the EU it should be entitled to the same support – with the industry in a worse place than the Irish ‘ever were’.