2018-10-26   facebooktwitterrss

Great Opportunities for UK Beef Industry Future

Adopting an integrated approach is crucial for the future of the UK beef industry, farmers were told this week at a discussion meeting organised by the Midlands Committee of the National Beef Association (NBA) in Daventry, Northamptonshire.

Keynote speakers addressing the 100-strong audience gave insights into retailer demands, the importance of data and technology and effective breeding policies, while a video presentation from Wulf Cattle in the US demonstrated how the American way could be adopted in UK beef production units.

John Bell

John Bell

John Bell of sponsor Berrystock Feeds, and chairman of the NBA Midlands Committee, opened proceedings by introducing a presentation from Wulf Cattle, the US feed producer and cattle breeder, operating an integrated production system producing quality beef for target markets. Wulf Cattle becomes its customers’ customer, selling bulls that will sire the next generation of its feeder calves.

Roger Meadows, recently of Alexander & Angel and Cargill (USA), gave an overview of how integration in the white meat industry has enabled the sector to meet retailer and consumer demand within managed margins, demonstrating how the beef sector could follow suit.

Dr Jonathan Birnie, of Birnie & Associates Consulting urged farmers to concentrate on what the consumer wants, following principles including price, quality and convenience, but also human health benefits and animal welfare. Dr Birnie also explained how a European study on eating quality revealed consumers will stay away from beef for 12 weeks after a bad experience, so quality and consistency is critical.

Maximising efficiency and minimising costs through the effective management of data was the message from Ian Wheal of Breedr, a productivity and marketing platform for the livestock supply-chain.

Matt Nightingale, CEO of Meadow Quality Ltd (MQL), explained how effective data collection can play a crucial role in effective breeding policies, while Barclays Bank's national head of agriculture, Mark Suthern, spoke of the importance of concentrating on margins ahead of outputs.

Mr Suthern spoke of a bright future for agriculture and the beef sector in particular, providing farmers adapt and initiate integrated production systems, citing the importance of having confidence in the provenance of red meat products from the UK.

A lively open forum followed, giving delegates the opportunity to raise questions with the speakers.

Andrew Laughton

Andrew Laughton

Rounding off a productive and informative evening, NBA national chairman Andrew Laughton stated,
"It is clear, while there are challenges, there are many opportunities for the UK beef industry.

“Adopting integrated production systems, gathering and making best use of data and implementing effective breeding policies can help deliver assured supply lines for retailers.”


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