NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers  (Read 3552 times)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« on: November 24, 2015, 05:37:31 pm »
Good afternoon,
 
Please find the latest press release from Ladies in Beef attached to this email.
 
Should you require any additional information or images please get in touch.
 
Best wishes,
Georgina
 
Ladies in Beef call for industry support to boost suckler beef breeding herds
 
The British suckler-beef breeding herd is at its lowest level since the late1980s at 1.57 million head having fallen by over 230,000 head in the past ten years and by 140,000 cows the past 4 years.   The UK suckler beef herd is the second largest in Europe after France but despite some of the highest EU farm-gate beef prices, this once mighty industry is now the most vulnerable in the livestock sector.   Ladies in Beef are calling on farmers (and lady beef farmers especially), livestock markets, abattoirs, processors, retailers, butchers, farm shops, food service and the hospitality sector to support the campaign to raise consumer awareness.
 
Jilly Greed co-founder of Ladies in Beef said, ‘In the UK we’ve lost over 140,000 beef-breeding cows over the last four years - that's an awful lot of empty fields.  Sadly there is an industry acceptance that suckler beef is in terminal decline due to poor returns and market and supply chain failures.  We just cannot let this happen without fighting for a more stable future.   We have to up our game and increase consumer awareness of why suckler beef is special due to a natural production system of grass, milk, nurturing beef breeds and glorious countryside.’
 
Ladies in Beef fully support dairy beef supply chains and the need to maintain volume in the marketplace.   However there is very little product differentiation within the processing sector where ‘beef is beef is beef’. Most consumers assume British beef comes from grass based traditional suckler beef herds. Yet less than half is suckler beef and the majority is now a by-product of the dairy herd.
 
Minette Batters LIBS co-founder and Deputy President NFU said,  'Dairy beef is hugely important to maintain volume but we have to be much more bullish about suckler beef and the role our grazing herds  play in  the production of a high quality  product,  nurtured by milk and grass.  There is much we can learn from the poultry industry in product differentiation and grass based suckler beef resonates with consumers not just in the UK but also across the world.   Get the branding right and we could see a resurgence in suckler beef production in the UK and profitable returns.'
 
Taking a lead from the poultry sector and successful product differentiation within the retail and hospitality sector, there is a fresh opportunity to create a greater awareness of suckler beef, promoting the many health, animal welfare and environmental benefits of traditional, naturally raised suckler beef as well as it importance to the land management of the British countryside.
 
For without our British suckler beef herds and halting the decline, there will be many more empty fields.  The outcome is graphically depicted in the AHDB/EBLEX report Landscapes Without Livestock where the impacts of cherished landscapes without suckler beef cattle are visualised.
http://www.eblex.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Landscapes-without-livestock-report.pdf
 
In early 2016 leading up to Great British Beef Week (April 23 – May 2), under the umbrella of Save our Sucklers, Ladies in Beef will launch a consumer based campaign, Great British Beef Nurtured by Nature, taking a lead from CAMRA and their campaign for real ale, which has successfully raised the profile of British craft beers and halted the homogenisation of the British brewing industry.
 
Ladies in Beef hope a differentiated, branded suckler product offer will be piloted with a major retailer or within a regional supply chain such as PGI Westcountry beef.   Product criteria is that it must be singled suckled beef and meet Red Tractor assured, Quality Standard Mark standards and Protected Geographic Indicator status if a regional brand.
 
To pledge support or for more information contact Jilly Greed at jilly@ladiesinbeef.org.uk or visit www.ladiesinbeef.org.uk to sign up online.
 
-ENDS-
 
Georgina Davie
Ladies in Beef
Voss Electric Fence

Porterlauren

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 05:39:29 pm »
T.B and crap prices. . . .. . . . its a tough life for a suckler herd!

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2015, 06:18:56 pm »
The only way you could get a return is not through rearing store cows, but having your own beef herd and processing it and selling it yourself. I know a few people who do that, both keep rare breeds and are appreciated by their customers.
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

Talana

  • Joined Mar 2014
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2015, 12:17:42 am »
Huge worries ahead just have to wait and see what happens. At best suckler cows break even ,really good year small profit. The subsidy you get is your profit unless a bad year, those that don't have subsidy have a job or claim working tax credit and get more than the subsidy. some have extra job anyway.
Worry one subsidy dramatically less for those that get with indications of going to none. tax credits cut, people losing jobs. Worry 2 costs and complications ever increasing , no body elses prices come down they only seem to go up. Worry 3 prices going down -slaughterhouses starting new rules to pay less for beef similar to fat lambs -want smaller cattle won't pay more than 1600, currently finisher take cattle older and bigger get 1800 that' s £200 gone per calf for a start out of the industry you still need the same amount of cows. Finishers want to pay less for weaned calves -no say suckler cow farmer we will just have to half cow numbers and finish calves ourselves would not be much in it either way, but can we afford to keep them that long with our resources, not every farm can. Farm shop niche market - might work for some but not for most farms for various reasons, some have tried it successfully ,others have made bigger losses as costs are higher. Do gooder says why not grow some other crops instead of cows- well that would be less dangerous but our farm it only grows grass so beef and lamb it has to be. Farmers wife goes to supermarket can't find our British farm assured beef and lamb, oh here is a small bit here but it is at a price i cannot afford will have to be for a special occasion, how come the huge mark up?

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2015, 07:43:23 am »
The only way to make them pay is to sell the weaned calves as stores for someone else to lose money on.  Dunbia's new 4 movement rule may prevent this if you have to move holdings for summer grazing/winter housing though.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2015, 08:00:50 am »
The day of the low maintenance suckler cow that can live on forage may be about to arrive.

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2015, 08:21:18 am »
I think a lot depends on your soil type.  Here on heavy clay outwintered cattle will lose condition no matter how much good forage is chucked at them and the fields take a long time to recover.  We had to bring them in by the end of October otherwise all that would grow the next year in the poached areas were wicks, chickweed and docks.  If enough shelter was provided for them all to have a dry lying area due to the numbers involved it would be a building classed as housing anyway.

Maybe in other areas with drier ground it would work but then the ground would drought off in summer...

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2015, 09:05:26 am »
If enough shelter was provided for them all to have a dry lying area due to the numbers involved it would be a building classed as housing anyway.

Why is that a problem?

Talana

  • Joined Mar 2014
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2015, 10:27:47 am »
Cows only get forage grass summer, silage/hay/ straw winter. Suckler cows are happy to live out with a natural shelter belt and actually prefer it but you need a suitable bit to put them on or they will plough the field. A stubble field may be suitable as don't mater if poached as long as big enough to have a dry area and move feeders when required. A rough area with rocky sandy soil. wish they were allowed in the wood perfect for them.Cows eat more outside but need a lot of bedding inside. Only thinner ones may be in pen inside over winter getting a little barley usually they are the ones that have twins or first calvers that are tight or age. Te calves get some concentrat as they are growing. We have all calves in and some cows in some cows that calve later out, for space at calving. They come in before they come round to calving as earlier calved ones out. dairy crosses don't winter out.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 11:05:49 am by Talana »

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2015, 11:20:54 am »
Dunbia's new 4 movement rule may prevent this if you have to move holdings for summer grazing/winter housing though.

I wish I thought that Dunbia were proposing this as a welfare issue but there seems to some scepticism about that.

I hadn't thought about the movements between grazings - we only have small numbers and our rented grazing is local, so moving there doesn't go on the passport.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2015, 11:22:53 am »
If enough shelter was provided for them all to have a dry lying area due to the numbers involved it would be a building classed as housing anyway.

Why is that a problem?

Is your post @Talana a response to mine? My question related to why was it a problem if a building was classed as housing.

Talana

  • Joined Mar 2014
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2015, 01:41:57 pm »
The day of the low maintenance suckler cow that can live on forage may be about to arrive.
They already do but calves often have to be fed to be fat at a younger age  in fact beef shorthorn premium scheme they have to be fed on set finishing diet set by scheme. Currently some let them grow older but under 30mths on more forage based system, but this new rules could require more intensive finishing is my concern, although growing cattle do need certain amount of concentrate, particularly in winter.

"If enough shelter was provided for them all to have a dry lying area due to the numbers involved it would be a building classed as housing anyway."
I don't follow either not all cows are housed, with the right environment they do as well out wintered even in large herds normally split into small groups. They are either in shed or out with natural / features for shelter. This movement thing ain't good either what counts change of ownership sale thru mart or moves eg. move between grazings, winter accomodation. People do different farming suited to what they have. Stock of the hills sold to lowland farms as simply not enough resources, you need that to keep the breeding stock- better to move animals to food, facilities etc. than move whole winters food to the hill farm.  Also will stock to shows and educational events count, someone would have to read the passport and find out the exact reason.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 11:03:08 am by Talana »

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Ladies in Beef - Save our Sucklers
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2015, 02:39:23 pm »
Calves often have to be fed to be fat at a younger age  in fact beef shorthorn premium scheme they have to be fed on set finishing diet set by scheme. Currently some let them grow older but under 30mths on more forage based system, but this new rules could require more intensive finishing is my concern.

People do different farming suited to what they have. Stock of the hills sold to lowland farms as simply not enough resources, you need that to keep the breeding stock- better to move animals to food, facilities etc. than move whole winters food to the hill farm.  Also will stock to shows and educational events count, someone would have to read the passport and find out the exact reason.

I woudl also be concerned that feeding grain is REQUIRED by a premium scheme. Surely in the interests of long term sustainability, we should be trying to move away from feeding grain to beef cattle?

I absolutely agree that it makes sense to move the cattle that may be bred hill / upland to lower ground for finishing (on grass / forage) rathare than move the feed.

The "4 moves" thing becomes more and more bizarre the more you dig into it. I think it would be "a good thing" if cattle were, in general, not huckled around the country and treated like an inanimate commodity but I can't see a processor having time to examine every passport - unless, of course, it's worthwhile financially for them to do so  :innocent:

 

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