Calls for a single health and welfare policy for the beef sector were made this week by Peter Vasey, newly elected president of the British Charolais Cattle Society.
“The UK beef sector desperately needs representatives from each of the four nations to get together to develop a coherent UK policy document which offers a common set of objectives,” he said.
“The beef sector has been faced by massive challenges, BSE and FMD, and now bTB and bluetongue, however individual approaches are being taken which clearly bring significant disadvantages to certain parts of the UK. I believe that it is high time the industry put aside certain prejudices and began to work in unison for the greater good of cattle farmers,” he says. “During my year as BCCS president, I would like to see the society begin to take the lead and go forward with such a plan.”
Mr Vasey, who runs the 50 cow Edenhurst pedigree herd at Wetheral, near Carlisle is more than aware of the discrepancies in health and welfare policy farming close to the Border. “For example, in the last few months, Defra and the Scottish Governments have adopted completely different approaches to bluetongue which have brought movement and financial disadvantages to farmers,” he says.
Synonymous with Charolais for more than 30 years since establishing the purebred herd, Mr Vasey explains: “I have focused on breeding bulls for the commercial marketplace; those that leave progeny with a consistent high weight gain and finish quickly, while increasing importance is being placed on calving ease. We are continually striving for our latest run of young bulls to be in the breed’s top 10% on performance.”
The Edenhurst herd has also achieved countless success in the pedigree showring, including the overall supreme Perth championship, and three times holder of the junior Perth title. Furthermore, Mr Vasey has had a keen involvement with the society. He is a former BCCS chairman, and founder chairman of the Border Charolais Club. “Over the years, I’ve believed in Charolais and only Charolais simply because no other breed leaves progeny which can achieve such incomparable growth rates, cost effectively,” he says. “Charolais remains the great improver; it continues to consistently leave margins for both suckled calf producers and finishers. Charolais is the terminal sire for the future.”
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