British beef farms are among the world’s least profitable, an international study of performance has showed.
The average UK beef finishing unit in 2018 made a loss of US$95 (£76) per 100 kh deadweight, with only Switzerland and Poland turning in a worse performance in group of 30 of the world’s main beef producing countries analysed by the German-based Agri Benchmark costings service.
The most profitable country was China, where producers made an average profit of US$200 (£160)/ 100kg. Of the 30 countries, 11 did not make a profit with seven of those in Europe.
There is little correlation between profitability and stocking rates in the figures, with land and labour costs having a greater impact on whether a farm makes money or not.
British sheep enterprises also struggled to make a profit in 2018, with farms in France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand all making more money.
Michael Haverty, of consultants Anderson, said: “The majority of a livestock farm’s capital is tied up in land and livestock and costs per unit do not tend to differ radically.
“What is more important is productivity and yield. The best lowland livestock farms make a 15 per cent return on capital, while for some that figures is minus 30 per cent.”
AHDB analysis showed the cost of pig meat production in the UK rose by eight per cent in 2018, to £1.47 per kg.
The average cost of production in the EU was £1.44 per kg deadweight – a four per cent rise on 2017.
Average feed prices were higher, according o the report, increasing across the 17 participating EU countries by an average of just over nine per cent.
The report also revealed a one per cent increase in pigs weaned per sow in the UK’s indoor herd to 27.35. However, as a consequence of the weather in 2018, the UK’s outdoor herds’ performance fell by three per cent to 23.22.