Farmers go high-tech

An innovative new computer programme which aims to help beef farmers improve their cattle selection skills was launched this week by EBLEX.

The programme, launched at the Royal Show, is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

Using 'dissolving' techniques, it allows producers to see a computer-generated beef animal change conformation and fat class from every angle. The programme also takes producers through different carcase cuts, yield data and a number of other topics related to cattle selection.

Entitled "Virtual Selection Tour - Beef", it will be used by the EBLEX Beef Better Returns Programme (BRP) team at meetings and presentations as an aid to explaining the needs and preferences of specific end markets.

Launching the programme Netta de la Cour, EBLEX Beef BRP Project Manager said: "For various reasons, it's not always possible to have live cattle at every Beef BRP event and this program means the team can take our cattle selection message to more farmer meetings, conferences and other indoor events."

The programme has been tested at a number of Beef BRP events in the past two months, and feedback has been very positive.

Steve Powdrill, EBLEX North East Regional Manager, said: "While it can never replace using live cattle, this computer program has proven a great talking point among the farmers who have seen it. Many have said that being able instantly to see differences between fat class and conformation has really helped them improve their understanding of selection."

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