Calls made for efficiency in Welsh red meat industry

Efficiency is key to the Welsh red meat sector’s survival, experts stressed at a farmer meeting organised by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) last week.

“Efficiency is the key to survival,” said Dr Prysor Williams, senior lecturer at Bangor University, who spoke at the event, attended by more than 50 lamb and beef producers at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Glynllifon Campus near Caernarfon.

Williams, who has worked with HCC on a number of environmental and climate change projects, said: “Farms with a lower carbon footprint are almost always more profitable, and all producers should aim to achieve this goal. There are many Welsh farms at the top of their game – we need to move the whole sector in that direction.

“A lot of research and development work, which needs substantial investment, is required in order to further develop efficient production methods. There is huge potential in our red meat sector, and people want value and quality. We cannot afford to be left behind in this competitive market.”

Vet Arwyn Evans, of Deufor Vets, also stressed the importance of efficiency to increase fertility in the beef suckler herd. He emphasised how good management practices could maximise the output of herds and lead to a greater financial return.

These practices included a compact calving period of six to 10 weeks, measuring fertility, maintaining correct body condition score for cattle and effective replacement heifer management, he said. Controlling diseases affecting fertility and calf losses, and the importance of Estimated Breeding Values were other important factors, he added.

Speaker Alan Gardner was awarded an HCC Scholarship to visit New Zealand to look at how farmers there maximise their returns and focus on driving their businesses forward as efficiently as possible. He was impressed by their regular use of data recording and monitoring, and noted that benchmarking methods had become standard practice for measuring business performance year-on-year.

The ON-Farm 2017 meeting was one of a series of events designed to share information and innovations that will boost the profitability and sustainability of red meat businesses.

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