Blade stays sharp

A pioneering approach to beef supply has celebrated its 10th anniversary and is now aiming to build on its success into the future.

Blade Farming, the supply chain business owned by the RWM Food Group, celebrated its 10 years with an open day at its flagship finishing unit near Witney, Oxfordshire, owned by James Hook. The Blade model is a forage-based system that includes a minimum six-month grazing period. Prime cuts are supplied to supermarket premium ranges and foodservice restaurant businesses, and forequarters and flanks go to McDonald’s.

Since 2001, Blade Farming has reared more than 75,000 finished cattle, said MD Richard Phelps. Along the way, he added, a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) production model had been developed and was now used by all the firm’s contract rearers. Average daily liveweight gains had increased by 0.3kg/head/day over the past 10 years and a 2015 projection was to reach 50,000 finished cattle per year.

Eblex chairman John Cross described the project as a classic supply chain vision in action. “An initiative like this is as rare as duck’s teeth,” he said. “Yet it has driven innovation in the meat supply
chain. Optimising animal performance is a ‘must do’ element for profitable beef.”

He said Eblex monitoring found a wide range in performance, indicating how some farmers were vastly more efficient than others, and proving that Blade’s science-based, stress-free, healthy, well-fed system produced high animal performance.

>Phelps plans five-fold Blade Farming growth


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