CONCERNS that more Welsh farmers will need to send animals to England for processing have grown after one of the biggest abattoirs in Wales says it is set to stop processing beef.

Randall Parker Foods said the decision was "down to falling volumes, negative margins and spiralling costs of production".

But the company, which will now be focusing on its lamb business, said the cattle line could be reinstated if the economics changed.

"Over the past few years we have seen weekly numbers drop from over 400, down to as low as 80 per week," it said.

The company said the decision was entirely down to cost

Of the three large abattoirs in Wales, only the St Merryn abattoir in Merthyr Tydfil will continue to accept cattle.

Smaller abattoirs in Wales will continue to process cattle in smaller numbers.

Speaking from his north Wales farm, FUW 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.

“We now have to travel further again and it will be more expensive for producers to take the beef to an abattoir further afield. In addition, the levy for the beef going across the border will remain in England, which is a double blow. 

“Moving forward, we need to have a closer look at processing facilities here in Wales, to ensure that it works for environmentally conscious consumers, processors and of course producers.”