2013-11-06   facebook twitter rss

Asda/ABP Study Group Visits the USA

Increasing efficiency in suckler beef production through selective breeding for feed conversion and herd productivity were the focus of a recent Asda/ABP BeefLink study tour to Denver, Colorado.

Eleven BeefLink farmers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland took part in the study tour and spent a week in the USA.

Study Tour in the USA

Study Tour in the USA

The trip, funded by Asda and ABP included a visit to Lee Leachman's breeding farm where they saw the latest developments in the Stabiliser breeding programme as well as gaining an understanding of how large scale farming systems work in the USA.

Study tour members also visited a number of leading beef industry organisations and research centres looking at how USA carcasses are graded for meat eating quality and tenderness.

Asda's agricultural manager Pearce Hughes said the trip had provided an incredible insight in to the work being done in the USA to improve both suckler herd efficiency and beef quality. "Efficient, profitable cows are at the heart of American suckler farming and it was interesting to see how the Leachmans are achieving this in the Stabiliser base herd.

"BeefLink farmers have been using Stabiliser genetics in recent years to maximise productivity and profitability and this trip has helped many understand just how progressive these genetics are and what a huge difference the right genetics can make to farm output," he said.

"All 11 farmers were impressed with the scale of the breeding operation, but the attention to detail in the breeding programme was second to none and huge emphasis was put on breeding cattle suited to the market."

"Some of the elite Stabiliser bulls we saw on the trip were converting at 4:1. These genetics could do more to improve the profitability of British beef production than anything else and have the potential to save the industry millions of pounds a year in unnecessary feed costs. By capitalising on these genetics our Asda/ABP BeefLink farmers can move to the head of the pack overnight."

ABP's Asda agricultural manager Elwyn Pugh said there was much to be learnt from the trip, including how more efficient cattle could help significantly reduce rearing and finishing costs while at the same time helping improve beef quality at a retail level. "There are many stark differences between the UK and USA beef industries, but there are a great many similarities too and we will be giving plenty of thought as to how we can adapt what we've seen for use in the UK."

Asda/ABP BeefLink demonstration farmer Mike Powley said the trip had given a unique insight in to the challenges and opportunities facing USA beef farmers. "While USA producers are breeding and feeding cattle for a completely different market to ours many of the challenges they face are the same as ours.

"Rising feed costs and the need to maximise suckler output are issues for farmers on both sides of the Atlantic and it was clear that USA farmers are looking to address these issues through both better breeding and better management."

Asda beef Link

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