National Beef Association Magazine - Spring 2021

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Regional Round Ups Guest Writers News & Industry Health Breed Societies Spring 2021 | ISSUE 18




Spring 2021 ISSUE 18


28 Front cover photo credit: Catherine MacGregor Photography EDITOR Katie Pearson National Beef Association Concorde House 24 Warwick New Road Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV32 5JG 01434 601005


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Chairman’s Welcome............ 04

NBA Meetings..........................................................................08

Chief Executive’s Report....... 06

Guest Writer - Keith Cutler........................................................10

NBA Regional Round-Ups..... 18

Trace Minerals in cattle.............................................................12

Breed Society News.............. 34

Organic Farming in the uplands.................................................14

Beef Breed Directory............ 36

Business France partners with the National Beef Association.......16 Regular checks keep fences efficient.........................................17 Beef farmers could still be caught out, National BVD Survey reports......................................................22 In My Opinion - Steven Sandison...............................................24 Making the change to dairy beef................................................28 Guest Vet - Kaz Strycharczyk....................................................29 Joining disease accreditation schemes.......................................30 Breed Society Focus - Aberdeen-Angus......................................32 50 Years of performance recording Sussex cattle.........................33

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Chairman’s Welcome

Welcome to the Spring edition of the National Beef Association’s ‘Beef Magazine’ Andrew Laughton


he days lengthen (although many are still wet and cold in our part of the world), glimpses of more pleasant weather and the appearance of daffodils show that spring is definitely in the air; most welcome after what seems to have been a very long winter! I hope that calving is going well, as things stand those British calves will be very much in demand. As I write, the 1st anniversary of lock down is upon us. It is also a year since I returned from Australia with a DEFRA delegation – just in the nick of time I should add! Whilst out there we were shown presentations on things like the MSA (Meat Services Australia) grading


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

systems which take account of eating quality as well as meat yield. They have put an enormous amount of work into determining what delivers eating quality such as age, breed, feed, etc. Brands seem to be gaining market share which can give confidence, if not guarantee, in consumer satisfaction. Beef consumption there has increased on the back of this. We also visited a feed lot owned by the Japanese controlled processor, where ‘only’ 48,000 resided. I say only because their capacity is usually 75,000! The reduction being due to farms restocking after the drought had ended. They sent 2000 cattle to slaughter every week mostly to supply Japan – relatively few, 10,500 p/a were destined for the EU. They were just in

the midst of installing a new feed mill, an Aus$11m investment. Whilst the scale was mind boggling the cattle looked fantastic and very consistent - a true reminder of the sort of competition we may be up against. That said many were hormone treated and would not be welcomed by the British consumer. If we can build upon the success of British beef and grow the points of difference, which our consumers have come to expect, then I believe we have a huge opportunity to supply home produced product. It may well be the time to overhaul the EUROP grid and put more focus on eating quality as a price determinant to the farmer? – Discuss. Take care, Andrew


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SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Chief Executive’s Report

Our imported beef requirements need a suckler herd of approximately 1.4 million cows Neil Shand


his time last year, the UK was in a state of desperate uncertainty as the COVID-19 pandemic started to make its presence felt in the UK. The beginning of March saw the start of panic buying and empty supermarket shelves as fear of the unknown and a lack of consumer confidence in the supply chain started to set in. Following the lockdown imposed on 23rd March 2020, the beef industry rose to the challenge of supplying its consumers with home-produced beef. While prices initially dropped, it soon became clear that the war-like wave of patriotism from the British public demanded home-produced beef, and prices steadily rose right through to the end of September. With the opening of hospitality and Eat Out to Help Out the brakes were applied, and a small price dip was evident towards the end of 2020. With the country once more in lockdown, the start of 2021 has seen a steady increase. We have learned a lot about our industry in the last 12 months. The beef-eating British consumer has shown loyalty when it was needed most, and we must do everything within our power to ensure the British public stays on board. Once the hospitality industry is open for business in the second half of this year, we must use all means possible to ensure that imported beef is not allowed to suppress the price of UK/GB produced beef. Having created a unique selling point with the consumer, we need to reinforce the benefits, to make certain they remain committed to buying home-produced highwelfare beef. The pandemic has seen some unexpected side-effects for our industry in the last 12 months, and it maybe that change is on the cards in areas that would not have seen change otherwise.


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

Veganuary was a complete non-event this year, even social media was much quieter than usual. January saw record beef sales at a time when they are usually expected to fall - could this be the end of Veganuary? At the beginning of the pandemic when mince supply was scarce, cheaper imported Polish mince was rejected by the consumer at retail level. The adequacy of the supply chain was certainly called into question, and home-produce was brought to the forefront. Asda, one of the retailers who used imported mince, have since committed to source all their beef from the UK in future. In spite of constant advice from processors that the whole carcass is impossible to balance, it would seem it has been achieved pretty well in the last 12 months. There has been very little chat about difficulties in this area, and it would seem that when imported product is removed from the equation, we manage pretty well! With hospitality closed, and the range of eating opportunities limited, retail has gained a larger proportion of beef sales than they have ever had. Understandably, they will do everything in their power to maintain as much of that share as possible, keeping consumers coming through the door and filling their trolley with other products.

The outlook for beef in 2021 is very good, farmgate price is on the march and will continue so for the foreseeable future.

Although lockdown appears to be coming to an end, there will still be many people who take a cautious approach, and with barbecue season moving in many will restart their social life in their own back garden, a means of reconnecting with friends and family after a seriously challenging year. However, the industry still faces the same challenges that were evident before the pandemic; the environmental impact of beef production being the biggest of these. In November, Glasgow hosts COP26, which will be a great opportunity to showcase UK/GB beef production, highlighting our competitive edge, and high carbon efficiency with emissions 52% lower than the global average. We need to grab this opportunity with both hands, and ensure a UK-wide policy for beef production, avoiding the embarrassment and confusion of having several different schemes for environmental beef production within the UK. We need a collective and united approach to keep the whole of the UK at the forefront of globally efficient beef production. Lastly, for those within Government and the anti-beef enthusiasts, here are some numbers to digest. In normal times, our annual beef imports total approximately 400,000 tonnes. To achieve this, a suckler herd of approximately 1.4 million cows are required. So, whilst some within Government advisory circles may consider the easiest solution to reduce emissions is to reduce cow numbers, please remember the cow herd needed to meet our import requirements is larger than the total amount of suckler cows in England, Scotland and Wales collectively. We must not export our environmental responsibilities. The solution lies with increasing home-grown beef production and decreasing our reliance on environmentallycatastrophic imports.

Routine Heat Stress Heat Health



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SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


NBA Meetings

Meetings Part of the remit of the National Beef Association is to represent our members at decision-making levels, working with both government and non-government bodies to advance the priorities of beef farmers in all the home countries.


e are actively involved in many other pursuits, and continue to be the only organisation fighting purely for the benefit of beef producers. Membership cost is just £75.00 annually, regardless of the size of your operation. Our weekly emailed newsletter, published at 5,00pm on Friday, contains the most up-to -date information on cattle prices, and picks up the most recent and relevant industry news The magazine is produced quarterly, and sent out to all members. It contains news articles, current information and indepth features including some focus on members enterprises. All members have free access to the NBA’s flagship event, the Beef Expo. The NBA bull breeding warranties are free for members for private sales The NBA are involved with many groups on a weekly and monthly basis, allowing us to make our members voices heard, and to represent their views with those responsible for making policy decisions.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) We meet with the DEFRA red meat team on a fortnightly basis, allowing us direct input into operational and food supply chain issues. The contacts within this group enable seamless and effective access to every relevant DEFRA department, allowing us to bypass usual channels and go straight to the correct person for any query that may be raised with us. We also take part in EFRA committee meetings, which provide advice on future agricultural support payments and health and welfare policies.

Red Tractor The NBA has a representative both on the Red Tractor Board and on the Beef and Lamb Technical Committee. This allows us an influence on policy and an opportunity to help shape future changes to farm assurance.


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

Environment Agency This EA group advises future policy changes. The NBA is part of the committee that drives discussion on permitting and regulatory changes.

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Reputation Group The purpose of this group is to protect the reputation of the industry from anti-beef campaigns and to promote the value of eating beef as part of a healthy and balanced diet. It also plays a part in the prevention of incursion onto farms by animal welfare activists. The reputation of our industry is pivotal to its future, and the NBA is actively involved in moving these aims forward for the benefit of all our members. The recent highly successful ‘Eat Balanced’ campaign was born out of this group, and we hope to repeat this success again in the autumn and next January.

NBA Meetings

Traceability Design User Group -Livestock Identification The Livestock Identification Programme (LIP) is intended to replace BCMS, with the aim of moving towards an ultimate goal of real-time paperless animal movements. We are actively involved in planning the start-up of this scheme, which is expected to commence in the next twelve months.

Welsh Government – Farmed Animal Health & Welfare The NBA meets with Welsh Government officials on a monthly basis to discuss all beef matters relevant to existing policy. As with Defra, these meetings present an opportunity to influence and design future agriculture policy in Wales.

Ruminant Health and Welfare Group

CHeCS (Cattle Health Certification Standards) The NBA is a founder member of this organisation, and has a representative on the board. This board aims to improve standards of health and welfare within the UK herd.

BVD-Free This committee was founded to fight for eradication of BVD in England. The NBA currently hold the position of vice-chair. We are continuing to push for England to install the mandatory eradication programme that the rest of the home countries already have.

NFU – Scotland Group The NBA has regular and positive contact with NFUS, and use of joint lobbying power - for instance with the Welfare in Transport consultation – gives a greater punch.

This is a newly set up group, which is targeting a lift in overall UK herd health. It focusses on tackling specific diseases, with the aim of eradication. The NBA is actively involved representing beef cattle welfare.

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

Livestock Chain Advisory Group

The NBA has regular contact with the department in NI, including meetings with Ministers. We are currently very active in pushing for resolution for the post-Brexit issues effecting NIGB trade and vice versa.

This group gives further regular access to all levels of Government to discuss on-going issues as well as future policy throughout all the home countries.

Pathway Project This project will be responsible for filling part of the funding gap left by the discontinuation of BPS. It will provide grants to aid the improvement of health and welfare. We have been involved in the original design of the Health and Welfare pathway and this project is now in the fine-tuning stage in preparation for roll out.

Carcass Classification Scrutiny Group The NBA are represented on the Carcass group, which ensures fairness and transparency in carcass classification. The group investigates complaints from producers, and protects our members from incorrect grading mistakes.

Anti-Microbial Reduction Stewardship We are part of the programme to help identify and reduce the use of antibiotic in UK Agriculture.

National Farmers Union (NFU) – UK Farming Organization Roundtable

NBA South West Region TB Committee

This is a group of all industry bodies, which is chaired by Minette Batters, and was set up at the start of COVID-19 to lobby George Eustice on issues that arose because of the pandemic. The group has been retained.

Reformed in 2020, this group has been very active in responding to the Government’s recent TB consultation. Two members of this group are contributors to the new programme created by Defra to replace the TB Eradication Advisory Group.

Technical Advisory Committee, Premium Cattle Health Scheme (SRUC)

Pedigree Breed Society Group

We sit on the Premium Cattle Health Scheme advisory board. This board influences future health policy, and encompasses our mission to remove endemic disease from the UK herd.

The organisation has hosted this group for many years. It creates a flow of information from breed societies to the NBA and vice versa, allowing cooperation and easy access to resolve any issues arising from the pedigree side of our industry. The chair of group holds a complimentary position on the NBA Board.

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Guest Writer | Keith Cutler

r e t i r W Guest Keith Cutler - Synergy


t keeps being both said and written, yet bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) continues to be one of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge, currently facing the UK cattle industry. It costs the lives of many thousands of animals each year, costs the country and the industry many millions of pounds and causes heart ache and misery to the farmers and others whom it impacts. It is true that a generation or more ago this disease had been virtually eradicated from our shores using a strategy based on compulsory testing using the Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Tuberculin test (the SICCT or ‘skin’ test) and culling of reactor cattle. Why, then is a continuation of this strategy, with an increase in the number of animals being tested and the frequency with which they are being tested failing us now? The answer lies in part in ‘progress’ and changing times. Compared with a generation ago our cattle industry now is concentrated into fewer, larger herds with a greater density of animals on those farms that continue to keep livestock. There is also more movement of cattle between herds and a higher badger population density with a greater wildlife reservoir of infection now than in times past. Can historic testing technologies and strategies cope with these changes in agricultural practice and deliver the performance necessary to successfully eradicate bTB by 2038, the Governments stated aim? The SICCT test detects a cellular immune response and is a useful test at a herd level. However, it lacks sensitivity at an individual animal level leaving infected animals undetected in chronic and recurrent breakdown herds and allowing the sale of animals from OTF (Officially bTB Free) herds but are they actually bTB free? It is,


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

therefore, no surprise that many herds with confirmed histories of breaking down with bTB frequently break down again between twelve and twenty-four months of regaining OTF status. It is also interesting to reflect on a statistic published in the November 2020 Welsh bTB report confirming that 70% of new herd breakdowns within the low risk area (meaning that wildlife are unlikely to be to blame) can be traced to purchased animals which must have come from OTF herds and passed a pre-movement test.

Historically, because of the pathogenesis of M bovis (the cause of bTB), antibody production (the other major arm of the immune response) has been considered a late-stage response to Mycobacterial infection. More recent research has shown this not necessarily to be the case. While pathogenic Mycobacterial organisms can survive in immune cells they do not do so unscathed. Coat proteins are eroded from the Mycobacterial cell wall to be presented at the surface of the white cells where they do, indeed, stimulate an antibody response. The magnitude and number of these antibody responses, in broad terms, increases as infection progresses. This, then, provides an opportunity for the development of highly sensitive and, by

the careful choice of the surface antigens selected upon which to base the test, highly specific new testing technologies. Such new testing technologies could then be used not only to provide an early diagnosis of M bovis infection but also to provide some insight as to the degree of progression of infection and therefore the risk that that animal poses of passing that infection on to other animal in the herd. Such testing technologies have been developed. The Enferplex test, which has received validation from the OIE (the world organisation for animal health), is based on fifteen highly specific (so false positive results are very rare) M bovis antigens arranged in eleven ‘spots’. Two or more of these spots giving positive results define the test result as positive and the animal as infected. Furthermore, as the number of positive spots increases some indication can be gained about the degree of progression of infection and the degree of risk an infected animal poses to other animals it is in contact with. The opportunity this might provide to assist in the early detection of M bovis infected animals, enhancing our ability to manage bTB in herds which suffer a breakdown, and the reassurance it would provide about the health status of purchased animals could revolutionise our efforts at eradication. We remain, unfortunately, compromised by legislation due to the statutory nature of this disease. However, until attitudes change, developing technologies are embraced to provide more information about the true bTB situation on our farms and imaginative approaches to the management of this disease are permitted, eradication appears as elusive as ever. Keith Cutler BSc BVSc DipECBHM MRCVS Synergy Farm Health March 2021

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or animals to reach their full production potential and avoid ill health, it is important that their diet provides the right combination of energy, protein and fibre whilst being balanced for the full range of minerals. Whilst trace elements are only required in very small amounts it is worth remembering that their impacts can be significant. There are over 15 different elements required in varying quantities for optimum health and productivity and it is beyond the scope of this article to provide a detailed overview of each and every one instead we will concentrate on some of the key trace minerals.

Manganese functions in the body by regulating the activity of certain enzymes. Deficiency gives rise to poor growth rates, impaired skeletal development stiff gaits and swollen joints. In severe cases manganese deficiency can also result in calf deformities.

Solutions for Supplementation:

Selenium Whilst the most commonly identified presentation of clinical selenium deficiency is white muscle disease, ill thrift, reduced immunity and infertility may also be seen. Selenium is important for immune function and to protect tissues against oxidation and the breakdown of cell membranes associated with oxidative stress. During normal oxygen metabolism by-products called free radicals are produced. Free radicals damage cells. Antioxidant enzymes are required to neutralise these free radicals, but unless there are sufficient available trace minerals to produce these antioxidant enzymes, then oxidative stress results, impacting the health and performance of cattle.

Copper Copper is involved in multiple functions such as energy metabolism, coat pigmentation, immunity, iron metabolism, bone growth and development. Given copper’s large number of different roles,


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

signs of deficiency can be highly variable. Perhaps most recognised are coat colour changes (especially around the eyes and ears), ill thrift, anaemia and potentially infertility. In youngstock copper deficiency can result in signs of lameness and poor growth. It is important that before undertaking copper supplementation the true status of the farm and the animals is established, as over provision can lead to toxicity.

Zinc Zinc is involved in several different biochemical processes within the body and is a component of several key enzymes. Deficiency signs include poor growth rates, altered gait and stiff joints, failure of wound healing, and reduced reproductive performance

Understanding the mineral status of your herd is key and your vet will be able to advise on appropriate testing to establish this. Once you know your status you can then look at how best to address any deficiencies. The most important thing to consider before feeding/administering mineral supplements is the mineral contribution of all inputs already in the animal’s diet. The level of mineral supplementation required by an animal will depend on its stage in the production cycle, but also the forage composition of the diet and the availability of minerals from the raw constituents. One of the most used ways of providing mineral supplementation is the provision of free choice minerals in the form of licks or blocks. The difficulty with such an approach is the variability in dosing that results; with some animals getting little or none of the supplement whilst others may intake much more than is required. Providing mineral supplementation in-feed can be an easy way to address the mineral needs of cattle. Animals are more likely to get the required amounts than from licks or blocks, but it is worthwhile remembering that when feed intakes drop either because of disease or around events such as calving,


intakes of essential minerals will also fall. Infeed administration is also not appropriate all the time and e.g. whilst animals are at pasture and can be challenging when animals are transitioning between different diets (e.g. at weaning).

with trace minerals in the rumen reducing their absorption and meaning only a small proportion of the supplement administered is ever available to the animal. The only way to avoid this interaction is administer trace minerals via the injectable route.

Direct administration of the required minerals to animals via injections, oral drenches or ruminal boluses has the advantage of ensuring that each animal receives the prescribed dose of minerals and trace elements and administration can be targeted to coincide with specific risk periods. It is often viewed as more labour intensive, requiring handlings etc but the benefits of improved performance and reduced disease can mean the payback is worth it.

Targeting at risk times

When considering mineral supplementation it is important to also understand that other minerals such as sulphur, molybdenum, iron and calcium which are present in feed, forage and water can act as antagonists and limit the absorption of trace minerals administered orally. These minerals interact

When considering the production cycle of cattle there are key phases when animals are most likely to see the impact of clinical and subclinical mineral deficiencies. For adult animals these are generally around breeding and calving. For youngstock proper mineral nutrition is essential throughout the growing period if they are to achieve their targeted growth rates but stressful events such as weaning and other management changes can also increase the risk of mineral deficiencies. Knowing there are specific risk periods allows us to be very targeted with additional supplementation. In dairy cattle, studies have demonstrated that cows treated with the injectable mineral supplement Multimin

at dry-off, 30 days pre calving and 35 days in milk showed improved milk quality and udder health and reduced mastitis rates. In beef cattle treated with the same product prior to calving and then again 30 days prior to the start of the breeding period, a much more compact calving pattern was achieved. In younger growing animals targeting mineral supplementation around stressful events such a movements and weaning can have significant effects. Several calf rearing units I work with have started using Multimin prior to major management changes and have seen reductions in disease incidence and reduced need for antimicrobial treatments.

Conclusions: The importance of trace minerals should not be underestimated. At critical times of the production cycle e.g. calving, lactation, breeding and vaccination there is increased demand for trace minerals, and these can be addressed in a targeted way using injectable products such as Multimin.

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Farming in the uplands Written by Malcolm Hay, Edinglassie Farm, Scotland


y Damascene moment came at a Soil Association food conference in Paisley in 2000. I had just left a City career and had returned home to farm. With no formal training, I was on a steep learning curve. The keynote speaker was a young and inspirational Jamie Oliver. During the day, it was revealed that thrifty East Renfrewshire Council’s budget for a primary school meal was 0.13p per child. The offer included a hamburger that was guaranteed 5% meat (!) and a cup cake. I was deeply shocked. Jamie Oliver succeeded in getting fruit on the primary school menus, and I went home to contemplate how best to turn my acres of inedible cellulose into wholesome and nutrient rich food. When I mentioned to my then farm manager that I wished to convert to organic farming, he gave me one of those withering looks which communicated not only absolute disbelief in what he was hearing, but also a heightened level of contempt for the poverty of thinking which could have produced such an appalling idea. At the time, many farmers perceived organic farming as confused and impractical and the system was still largely identified with kaftan and sandal-clad tree huggers whose urban lifestyles were about as far removed from the hard graft of upland livestock farming as one could possibly get.


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

We farm about 1,800 hectares between 750 and 1,500 feet above sea level in Upper Banffshire. About 300 hectares are ploughable with the rest made up of permanent pasture and about 1,200 hectares of heather hill. Our organic farming enterprise comprises 80 Beef Shorthorn cross suckler cows together with 15 pedigree Beef Shorthorns. We also run 700 Lleyn cross ewes and 300 pure blackies. Almost all of the progeny is finished on farm with fat cattle and lambs sold through Scotbeef. The farm’s name, Edinglassie, is derived from old Scots “Eudan-glasaich” meaning “steep grazing” – a good description for those of us who have to traverse its not-sogentle slopes in wet weather. A charming anecdote tells us that if you left your stick lying of a June evening in the haughs of Edinglassie, there would be no point in going back to look for it in the morning as it would be so “happit ower wi’ grass” you would never find it. Prior to conversion, we ran a Simmental cross suckler herd put to the Charolais selling weaned calves, and a Blackie flock crossed with BF Leicester tups, aimed at the ewe lamb market. The bag of nitrogen fertiliser was king as we lashed it on our poached and battered fields to get an early bite before closing them up ready for the silage treadmill.

We were running ourselves ragged trying to grow and conserve enough food to take our heavy continental cattle through a long, hungry winter, leaving no room to add value to their progeny. After a succession of miserably wet autumns and winters, every square inch of rough ground able to hold a feed ring had been reduced to a peaty glaur; our fences were wrecked, and farm tracks destroyed by the endless carting out of silage. In short, life was pretty miserable both for the animals and those who had to look after them. It was definitely time for a change. The Organic Aid Scheme was usefully supplemented by significant savings on the now prohibited nitrogen fertiliser and sprays. Further savings came from breeding our own replacements and ceasing the endless routine of antibiotic and wormer jags.


We changed our bulls to native breeds, their progeny being more suited to the ground and likely to fatten faster than their continental equivalents. We also built a shed to produce our own farm yard manure and rest the ground from the incessant winter poaching and accompanying collateral damage from heavy machinery. While this is not really a finishing farm, the absence of a developed market for organic stores contrasts oddly with the significant premium achievable for finished organic cattle. Our last consignment made £4.60/kilo, 90p above the conventional market price. While the premium does fluctuate with supply and demand, I would estimate that our animals have consistently achieved prices of 15% to 20% above the conventional market price over the past 20 years. One of the most rewarding results of organic conversion has been the impact on the wild

life. Lower winter stocking densities and new clover rich swards have had a hugely beneficial impact on our brown hares; it is not uncommon to see as many as a dozen in a single field at any one time. Waders, too, seem to do better, although predation is a major factor in their survival rates. There are many more moorland edge visitors in evidence, such as linnets, wheatears and stonechats. Plants, whose names I remember from my primary school days, can be seen again on our permanent pasture – yarrow, yellow rattle, knapweed, birdsfoot trefoil, speedwell, eyebright and, of course, red and white clover. There are many misconceptions about organic farming, not least of which is animal welfare. However, the organic rule is to treat any sick animal immediately and worry about its organic status afterwards – if you have used something toxic like a dung beetle-killing ivermectin, then that animal must be consigned to the conventional food chain. The form filling can be a pain, particularly having to use outdated software. However, with a national climate emergency and associated catastrophic decline in biodiversity, the organic system has, for me, provided an invaluable template for farming in an environmentally sensitive manner while still retaining an economically viable and productive agricultural business. Yet, it is humbling to see how far there is still to go. The Pasture for Life Association and proponents of Holistic and Regenerative agriculture are making huge strides in demonstrating how we can feed the country using resilient, planet friendly and

sustainable farming practices. However, there is little mainstream take up and a woeful lack of industry leadership. My carbon audit tells me I spew out 1.3m kgs of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere every year. This is skewed onside by a whopping 1.8m kgs of carbon sequestrated by my woodland. I am buying an electric UTV, but it comes from China, so who knows how expensive in carbon emissions it was to make. David Barron tells me I should fit hydrolysers to my heavy machinery, but my tractors are quite new and still under warranty – do I dare? I know that my beef cattle are part of the solution to combat climate change and reverse biodiversity loss. I know that getting rid of ruminants would be a disaster for the environment and food supplies. As Scotland enters a new support regime post Brexit, there is a danger that our governing bodies will lose sight of this salient point, and drain support from farming by throwing politically expedient bones (or, more accurately, miles of exotic conifers) to the so-called green conservation lobby. The obsessive “virtue signalling” support for all manner of trendy and supposedly planet friendly dietary regimes, air brushing out the nutrient rich carbon friendly alternative readily available in our uplands, is exasperating. Give us the road map and we farmers will deliver for the climate, for the environment and for biodiversity. We will also feed the country with high protein, highly nutritious and plentiful food. I for one never want to eat a “protein” morsel grown in a test tube, nor that “hamburger” guaranteed to contain 0% meat!

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Industry News

Business France partners with the National Beef Association to help UK beef farmers tackle today’s challenges


usiness France, the Trade Department of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom is partnering with the National Beef Association, to help UK beef farmers tackle today’s agricultural policy changes and Brexit challenges. With a long history of livestock farming, agriculture is a key sector for France. Like their British counterparts, companies are expected to meet very high environmental, economic and social standards. The French agri-food industry is ranked first in Europe in terms of added value. Last year, France exported €5.5 billion of agri-food goods to Britain, which was the joint third-largest export market for the French sector alongside Italy*. France boasts a wide breadth of innovative companies that offer equipment and solutions for more efficient, profitable, competitive and sustainable livestock breeding. From genetics, carbon auditing, artificial insemination, reducing carbon emissions, to feed additives, livestock

management & decision tools, Agtech and more, France’s know-how sets the standard in livestock breeding solutions and equipment. Business France’s AgriFoodTech export team, involved in the livestock farming sector, is teaming up with The National Beef Association to discover partnership opportunities between French suppliers and UK farmers, to work with the British industry in moving toward more sustainable and efficient practice. Whether you are new to the sector, or already a well-established business, if you are looking for new solutions and equipment to make your business more profitable while navigating the moving market demand, we are in touch with suppliers who could help you achieve that. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any needs that you might have. Business France’s role is to foster relationships between French and

British companies, identify partnership opportunities and encourage mutually beneficial business relationships. Business France’s Agrifoodtech inward investment arm of the French Government, also provides free and confidential support to companies either having already invested in France or looking to do so for the first time. We offer assistance such as: legal and fiscal information, operational costs and information (HR, employment, sites identification), possible incentives, as well as providing national, regional and local administration contacts. *source: farming agency FranceAgriMer French Embassy Business France UK Brettenham House, 2-19 Lancaster Place London WC2E 7EN




The Leamington Courier




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The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

21/01/2021 12:54




Electric fences play an important role on many beef units. Mark Oliver from Gallagher UK says a full early season inspection followed by regular checks will keep it effective, keep animals safe and optimise grazing efficiency. Mr Oliver says checking a fence should include the following steps. Check your energiser

Walk the whole fence

Make it a habit

Carry out a voltage check using a digital voltmeter or a fault finder. If the voltage reading is equal to or higher than 6000V then the energiser is working effectively. If it is less than 6000V then there is a problem with the energiser which needs fixing before you can complete the fence check.

Inspect the entire fence to check the condition of posts and wire, taking a supply of all the parts you might need such as replacement wire and insulators, the equipment to reset posts and some form of wire tensioner.

As well as checking the fence at the start of the season, you should check regularly during the season. If you do not have one, buy a Gallagher fault finder. Take it with you whenever you are out with your animals and you can quickly and easily check the fence is effective.

Check the fence voltage For cattle, Gallagher advise a minimum voltage of 3000V across the fence. Check the voltage at the end of the fence. If the reading is zero, then the fence is broken somewhere along its length. There will always be a degree of voltage loss along the fence. If the difference between the end of the fence and the energiser is less than 1500V, then the fence is working correctly and is adequately earthed. If the difference is more than 1500V there is a fault with either the fence or the earth, so both do need checking. If the voltage at the end of the fence is less than 3000V you may need to consider purchasing a more powerful energiser.

Remove debris which might cause the fence to short out such as branches. If the wire has gone slack, retighten it to the correct tension. If the wire has broken, reconnect it using a suitable connector. Just knotting the wire may not provide an adequate reconnection. Always use a proper connector to ensure an effective and durable repair and reduce the risk of the repair failing. Damaged insulators on posts are a common cause of lost power and should be replaced.

Check the earth If in doubt, ask a professional to do this for you. Make it a habit to always carry a fault finder.

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


NBA Regional Round-ups


William Walton - Chairman Northumberland, NE47 Email:


Robert Venner - Chairman Email: Phoebe Hart - Secretary Tel: 07309 666895 Email: phoebe.hart@


Contact Head Office Tel: 01434 601005


Stephen Heenan - Chairman County Down, BT30 8RT Tel: 07889 159496 Email:


David Barron - Chairman Email: Duncan Todd - Secretary Kilmarnock KA3 2TN Tel: 07734 812704 Email:



The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

NBA Regional

s p u d Roun

South West

The South West NBA members have been busy replying to the Government’s consultation on improvements to animal welfare in transport. The proposals contained within the consultation were extremely impractical and inappropriate and spurred many members to reply. We now await the outcome of the consultation but feed back gained to date suggests members efforts will be worthwhile. Like buses, Government consultations appear to come in pairs. The Government have put out another consultation, this time entitled “Bovine tuberculosis: consultation on proposals to help eradicate the disease in England”. This consultation closed on 24th March and members have been encouraged to reply along the lines that any changes to the current eradication measures must be based on data not dates. South West members, as with the rest of the country are currently enjoying near record beef prices. Lockdown has meant the closure of pubs and restaurants, of which many sell foreign beef. With foreign holidays not allowed, this means there are many more mouths in the country and many

are eating British beef at home, thereby boosting demand. The supply chain for foreign beef is interrupted as many shipping containers are in the wrong places. This will rectify itself in time but possibly not by the end of the current lockdown. Consumers are going to be keen to go out for a pub or restaurant meal. We need to encourage those pubs and restaurants to serve British. The best way to do that is if having a meal yourself, to ask where their beef comes from. If they can’t confirm it’s British, choose something else off the menu. British beef is amongst some of the most sustainably produced in the world. It is not produced on land reclaimed from Rain Forests. It is also produced to some of the highest welfare standards in the world and does not rely on antibiotics for its production. Our trade currently reflects the demand for British product that circumstances have created. Our next challenge will be to maintain that demand when alternatives return, in which we can all play our part. Rob Venner

NBA Regional Round-ups

Scottish Beef Association

Northern Ireland

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to dominate all our lives over recent months and although there does now seem that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the summer months will start to see us returning to some form of normality.

It’s hard to believe the clocks have moved forward and summer is here bringing with it the much looked forward to clearer evenings. Weather has been fairly mild with a little snow and not many hard frosts however we did experience our share of rain. Better now than in May, when silage time is upon us.

Farming does not seem to have been too badly affected by the pandemic when compared to many other industries, and huge credit is due to everyone who has worked so hard to ensure that food supplies to the nation have been maintained throughout the outbreak. Prices for both finished and store cattle have held up during the period due to livestock markets being kept open which encourages competition and gives different options for buying and selling livestock. So far the impact of Brexit does not seem to have had the detrimental effect on our industry as had been feared by some. The additional paperwork involved, and other administrative changes present an ongoing challenge for processors exporting beef. However, as long as the UK government does not invite cheap imported beef back into the UK with reduced custom checks, we will hopefully sustain decent prices going forward. Although the effect of the pandemic has meant that the SBA has had to change the way it functions to some degree, we continue to engage with other organisations and individuals involved in the Scottish Beef sector on a range of issues that have an impact on the production and

marketing of beef. Meetings have been held with Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, on a number of topics that include beef labelling in retail outlets and what the beef sector can do to play its part in helping to lower emissions that included discussions on how the recommendations of the Suckler Beef Climate Group report can be implemented. The SBA submitted responses to consultations on proposed changes to animal welfare in transport issued by DEFRA and the Scottish Government. Many of the proposed changes would have a significant impact on beef production in Scotland that would result in trade restrictions and see the cost of production increased. In particular the islands and more remote areas of Scotland would be hardest hit under the proposals and we have made it clear that we are absolutely opposed to any changes that would put Scottish beef farmers at a competitive disadvantage. Unfortunately, Scotland’s Beef Event 2021 has had to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The uncertainty as to when large gatherings would be allowed to take place meant that the decision was made to move the event to June 2022 at Dalswinton Estate, Dumfries. More details will be announced nearer the time, but we hope to see a large turnout at what promises to be a great occasion and something that we can all look forward to. David Barron & Duncan Todd

NBA has raised concerns about minced beef labelling in regional stores in parts of NI. We recently learned that products were being sold with no country-of-origin information or identification from the processing plant while labelling stated the product could be either from UK or Irish farms. The actual identity is not clarified on the label. It is a legal requirement that all details regarding country of origin and slaughter is clearly visible on labelling if the product is packed and sold on retail shelves. This is to protect clarity and comply with legislation. All the required information should be provided for the consumer to ensure a decision can be made. The pedigree sector is still being hampered by the new Irish sea border with six months quarantine for animals returning from sales unsold. Breeders will think hard about taking animals to mainland Britain for sale purposes. Finishing cattle trade has been maintained as has store trade, especially lighter animals however meal and fertilizer prices continue to rise. Stephen Heenan

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


“Previously, we would have had to replace up to 30 tags out of the 160 calves. Last October we only had to replace one” -Ian Richardson

Scottish Borders livestock farmers Ian Richardson and his father David have gradually been building up numbers in their specialist beef unit with a target of 500 suckler cows. Scottish Borders livestock farmers Ian Richardson and his father David Farm 1,650 acres at Upper Samieston, near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders running 440 suckler cows alongside 1,000 breeding ewes plus 250 arable acres. Their goal is to build up to 500 suckler cows. The Richardson’s aim is to sell suckler calves off their dams to maximise profitability ideally in October. Ian explains; “We aim to sell at weaning because we don’t have space and they make us the most profit then. They cost us virtually nothing to graze through the summer”. They are using Charolais, Aberdeen Angus, Limousin, British Blue and Simmental bulls, using the Angus, Blues and some Limousins for breeding replacements and putting the Charolais and Limousin bulls onto them. In 2014 they decided to invest in two new cattle sheds and a straw shed which is also used for lambing. For ease of handling, there are eight calving pens between them, each including a calving yoke which has made a huge difference in handling. The Richardson’s have taken home the champion calf prize at Stirling on numerous occasions. A handful are selected as potential show calves receiving no special treatment other than a wash and a blow dry, but still take the accolades particularly in the Young Farmers Calf Rally at Stirling. Most of the herd calve in spring from mid-March to May and calving is as tight as possible so tasks like tagging is full on. The Richardson’s now rely on Roxan’s Alpha cattle tags to identify cattle and

pair up cows and their calves quickly. They trust in Tagfaster too for their sheep and like the speed and good retention they get. “We had a bad experience with our previous cattle tag supplier and now we replace very few tags. Any we do and delivery is often next day. Out of 413 calves born, we probably replaced less than six”. “The Angus calves are all tagged with a red management tag so we can pick them out regardless of the sire. We also freeze-brand all the cows, to aide field identification. The large handwritten management tag enables us to match the calf quickly with the mother’s freeze brand” Ian adds. Another management priority is that the cattle must be easily handled, with the Richardson’s having a strict policy on temperament.Bulls are mostly sourced privately, occasionally bought at sales, and while Ian looks at growth rate figures, judging calving ease by eye is also a crucial key performance indicator too. Particularly with Charolais, they avoid heavy-boned bulls and those which are too strong in the fore-end. The herd has been built up gradually since 2001, buying in very few females to maintain the herd’s health status and breeding replacements using the four-way cross to maintain hybrid vigour. None are more than 50% Angus. Blue, Simmental and Limousin cows are put to the Angus bull and most of the Angus cross go to the Charolais bull. Because calving is at two years old, first and second calvers are all run with the Limousin bulls and then the Richardson’s decide which way they

are bred. Occasionally heifers are purchased if the opportunity arises, if they are health accredited. “The health status has to be right – we vaccinate against bovine viral diarrhoea and test all first and second calvers for Johne’s,” said Ian. Calves are also DNA tissue sampled under the Scottish Beef Efficiency Scheme which records data on the calf and dam and assists in the efficient development of suckler herds. Look out for more Upper Samieston progeny and you will be sure to be impressed.

LOUISE MERCER Scotland/North of England Mob: 07495 112 913

DEI WILLIAMS North Wales Mob: 07507 611 195

LAURA SMITH Central/East of England Mob: 07951 969 087

JOHN SYMONDS South / South West England Mob: 07766 221 011

JULIETTE EATWELL South Wales Mob: 07535 552 871

Time to upgrade? No compromise on quality, choice, service or support when you Switch & Upgrade to any product lines from Kiwikit and Roxan. Whether for tagging, EID reading, feeding or fencing, our products offer complete solutions for farmers to minimise cost and maximise output while ethically rearing productive and healthy livestock.

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Industry News

Beef farmers could still be caught out, National BVD Survey reports


he sixth National BVD Survey took place earlier this year and a record number of farmers participated - 1,236. As with previous years, it was carried out with partners including National Beef Association, British Dairying, the BVD eradication bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as the producers’ unions in each country.

“If your herd is naïve to the BVD virus i.e. not vaccinated, it only takes one mishap for BVD infection to get in and start causing problems which can take several years to get over,” explains Mr Yarnall.

There was a good regional split of responding farmers and 57% of those classified themselves as beef farmers, with 43% dairy. There were more beef than dairy farmers reporting in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which does reflect the national farming picture.

Involvement with each country’s eradication scheme is variable reflecting the fact that some are mandatory (Scotland and Northern Ireland) while others voluntary (England and Wales).

Robust biosecurity measures are favoured by most farmers who responded to the survey with the number one option being to run a closed herd. “Having a closed herd is a great policy, provided its rigidly adhered to,” says Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health’s Matt Yarnall who undertook the survey analysis. “All too often, veterinary investigations into BVD breakdowns reveal that, in reality, a true closed herd is a rare thing. Maybe a new bull was brought in, heifers reared on another unit were brought back home or stock went to mart but came back after not selling. All carry a risk of bringing BVD back to the farm.” Looking at biosecurity measures in more depth reveals a range of measures being used including: •

Quarantining all incoming cattle

Testing all incoming cattle


Double fenced boundary

“True biosecurity in most of the UK is hard to achieve – most farms have neighbouring cattle somewhere on the boundary. It was interesting to see that a large number of Scottish farmers said that it was hard to know the BVD status of neighbouring herds,” he adds. Scottish farmers’ responses:


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

Compulsory vs voluntary schemes

“It was interesting to see that an overwhelming majority of English respondents think it should be compulsory,” he adds.

Farmers in England also gave a range of reasons for joining the BVDFree programme: In Wales, where the eradication scheme was launched in 2017, 84% of farmers have signed up with only a tiny number (5%) claiming to be unaware of it. The variation in the schemes, also means that different testing and surveillance methods are used with tag and test favoured in Scotland, Norther Ireland and England but blood testing more widely used in Wales. “Where tag and testing is used, clear guidelines are given that all calves born, whether they are dead or alive need to be tested,” he adds. “But this is still not happening. The BVD virus could be the reason for a stillborn calf; fail to test it and you may miss this and unwittingly have the BVD virus circulating in the herd.”

Industry News “Even more serious is keeping PIs (persistently infected animals) which have been identified as part of routine screening,” remarks Mr Yarnall. “Keeping a PI animal is never a good idea, even if it is separated and reared on. They are capable of shedding virus and infecting other stock and most don’t reach a decent weight for slaughter due to persistent ill health. All BVD eradication schemes state that PIs should be culled immediately.”

the two-shot primary course or gone beyond the 12 month window. Levels were similar for Wales (17%) and Northern Ireland (18%). Opting to use Bovela®, the only live BVD vaccine that is available, can take the headache out of some of the planning and timing issues. It has a one dose primary course combined with flexible booster regime and delivers 12 months’ protection. If timings do slip, a gap in immunity can occur and the vaccination course may also need complete re-starting if using an alternative vaccine. “Simplifying vaccine timing can be especially helpful in year round calving herds,” Mr Yarnall concludes. “Using the online timing tool at allows you to quickly and easily put in service dates for heifers coming into the herd and the main milking group and its easy-to-follow guide shows when the primary course and boosters are due.”

In England, 66% of farmers said they vaccinate for BVD, 55% of both Northern Irish and Scottish producers do, and in Wales 61% confirmed that they use a BVD vaccine. “Vaccination rates seem to be slowly increasing throughout the UK as producers see a performance benefit and there is a price premium for stock sold as BVD vaccinated,” comments Mr Yarnall. “However, delving into the data a little deeper reveals that vaccine timing issues are still catching a significant number of producers out. Fail to boost at the right time, and cattle could be unprotected and vulnerable to infection. The data shows that 18% of respondents in England said that they have had to restart a vaccination course because they had missed the six month booster, incorrectly timed

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


In My Opinion | Steven Sandison

n o i n i p O In My Steven Sandison


’m Steven Sandison and I farm in the Orkney Islands in partnership with my wife Lorraine. We have three children, Carmen 17, Callie 15 and Glen who is 10. With every year that passes I seem to be doing less work and they are doing more! For the last few years, we have carried 100 Simmental and Salers cross cows on 330 acres. 230 which we own and another

100 on seasonal lets. Sheep have been introduced these last few years as the next generation have been able to do more on the farm. Last October we bought another 160 acres, so we have given off most of the rented land. The plan is to keep the cows at the same number and run 150 ewes. Orkney has more beef cows than humans. Plenty of rain and lots of hours of daylight

in the summer mean we can grow plenty of grass which suits cattle and sheep well. Orkney is made up of 70 islands with approximately 20 of them inhabited. Tourism, Oil, Fishing and Renewables are all thriving industries in Orkney, but beef cows have played a major part in Orkney’s past and hopefully this will continue well into the future. Orkney Auction Mart would sell approx half of all the cattle produced on the islands. Most of the cattle sold would go to Aberdeenshire for finishing. Aberdeen and Northern Marts based at Thainstone Market in Inverurie along with Scotbeef, ABP Perth and Macintosh Donald would all process cattle from Orkney farms. This column is called “In my opinion” so I thought I would write a bit about the challenges and opportunities which I think we may face as an industry. Farming in a place like Orkney will always have its challenges and livestock shipping is part of what we do. Talk recently about banning certain types of livestock shipping and tightening regulation has been very worrying and could have serious consequences for farmers in the Northern isles. The system we have here for shipping stock is first class. Stock have access to food and water at all times while on the boat, meaning they are travelling in better conditions than what some commuters will be on public transport in major cities. Hopefully common sense will prevail, and these proposals will get kicked into the long grass. This time last year there was a sombre mood in the farming community. Brexit had been hanging over us for a few years by that point and Vegans were getting far too much airtime. Things can soon change and here we are with cattle at good prices and climbing. It’s great to see but I think we can’t forget where we were 12 months ago, and I think educating the next generation would be a good starting point. Over the last 7 years we have been hosting school visits here on the farm. It’s one of the most rewarding things I do, and I think as an industry we should be pushing the Government to give every primary aged child the opportunity to visit a farm.


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

Steven Sandison | In My Opinion Last year the Scottish Government set up farmer led groups representing different sectors. This has given the industry a great chance to work with the Government to help shape future policy and meet their ambitious climate change targets. For as long as I can remember I have been very interested in cows. Rather strangely for a boy who hated school I was interested in record keeping. I always kept my own herd book of my father’s cows! That early interest grew and that was probably one of the reasons I was interested in getting involved in the Monitor Farm Program. In 2012 our farm became the first farm in Orkney to host this project. Lots of good things came from the project for both the farm and myself. The best for me was being awarded a Nuffield Scholarship in 2015 to try and find out what a realistic number of calves could be weaned from every 100 cows put to the Bull. At that time QMS estimated that only 82% of cows in Scotland reared a calf. That is the equivalent of every cow in Orkney, Shetland, Western isles, Caithness and Sutherland not rearing a calf. We all know that where there is life, there is death, and we will never achieve 100% but I do think we could do better. I visited around 100 farms across five countries, but the main part of my study was from the 70 farms I visited across the UK and Ireland. The farmers in the top 10% were averaging 93% weaned from cows exposed to the Bull in 9.5 weeks.

Cow breed/type, 2-year-old calving, Good management and a tight calving block were the common themes with the farms who were rearing over 90%. These are subjects which have been spoken about for many years. Some farmers are very passionate about them and others are as passionate that they won’t work! If we can get the combination of a fair price for our product, Ag policy which supports and encourages those who are producing food and looking after the countryside and if we can improve efficiencies on our farms I think we can be very optimistic about the future of our industry. Since doing my Scholarship I have been very fortunate to have spoken at farmers meetings in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I have met so many people and made friends for life. I’ve also heard some great quotes. Most of them regarding the subjects which my Nuffield covered. I thought I would finish with some of them as a bit of entertainment or to provoke some thoughts!

“I’m not so worried about having a Bull with great calving figures. I want cows which will put out a decent sized calf” “Profit?? Is that a Scottish word!” “If we have to start calving our heifers at 2 years old in order to make our cows profitable, we might as well give up now” “We hear a lot about the need to improve genetics, A lot of farmers aren’t realising the genetic potential of the cattle they already have”

“I never knew that calving heifers at 3 years old was even a thing. Until I went “I put every heifer I have to the Bull, to Agricultural college and heard the I don’t know which ones are going to other students discussing it. At home we make the best cows. I’m only 74!” calved Dairy and Beef heifers at 2 years old and had no problem”

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Following a turbulent growing season in the UK, the amount of stress placed on home grown crops has been greater than other years. When crops are placed under stress they are more susceptible to mould growth which can then result in a mycotoxin burden. Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by moulds and after consumption they can have a negative impact on both animal health and performance. “The scale of the threat posed by mycotoxins is continuously overlooked, despite the substantial negative impact on cow performance and health,” explains Ms Barnes, AB Vista’s Ruminant Technical Manager. “Forages and cereals that are commonly fed in beef finisher rations are notorious sources of mycotoxins and are often the reason for sudden performance drops.” As there are over 500 different mycotoxins that can negatively impact animal health, it is important to be aware of the most prevalent types and their risk level. (Table 1). Mould type


Growing conditions

Animal symptoms


Aflatoxins B1 & B2

Warm, dry (20-33 C)

Reduced average daily gain, immunity and rumen function.



15-300 C

Diarrhoea, kidney damage, reduced average daily gain and immunity.



Cool, wet (5-150 C)

Reduced feed intake, average daily gain and immunity. Lameness, swollen hocks, uneven growth, diarrhoea, coat/ skin changes.


Table 1: Mould and mycotoxin type and the subsequent animal symptoms. The most common mycotoxins found in homegrown crops are from fusarium moulds (DON, ZON, T2) whereas imported cereals are more likely to contain aspergillus moulds (Aflatoxins). This can lead to a multiplying mycotoxin effect when the two are fed together increasing the negative production effect on the animal. Risk posed by commonly fed feedstuffs: In UK beef finishing systems as a variety of feeds are fed at different inclusion levels being aware of the mycotoxin risk that each feed type presents is vital this winter (Table 2). For example, the risk level can increase when certain combinations are provided; maize poses a greater risk than barley, and straw more so than grass silage.

Feed type Maize silage Grass silage Wholecrop silage Straw (wheat/barley) Cereal grains (including maize)

Mycotoxin risk

+++ + +++ ++ +++

Mycotoxin type Fusarium, Aspergillus Penicillium Fusarium, Aspergillus Fusarium Fusarium, Aspergillus

Table 2: The mycotoxin type and risk level in common UK beef finisher feeds.

In the growing phase, crops can be exposed to high humidity and temperature levels which increases the risk of mould growth. Insect or mechanical damage from extreme weather conditions, contamination with soil or bird faeces, as well as poor storage conditions can all lead to increased risk of mould growth. This year the challenging growing season in the UK has increased the risk from the most damaging fusarium mycotoxins (DON, ZON, T2). Producers now have the difficult task of trying to detect the presence and threat from these often invisible mycotoxins. It is therefore vital to identify animal symptoms (Table 1) early and mitigate the impact with a mycotoxin remediator such as Ultrasorb R. “These mycotoxins are contained within the grain or the stem of the plant and are then dispersed throughout the feedstuff when it is harvested, making them difficult to detect in the feed, whilst still posing the same level of risk to animal health and performance. When moulds are visible and enter the mycotoxin producing state, we often see a colour change from white to grey, pink/red, blue or green. This helps to identify the type of mycotoxin present for example, fusarium mycotoxins produce a pink/red pigment whilst penicillium mycotoxins produce a blue pigment (Figure 1),” adds Ms Barnes. The dry conditions have also increased the mycotoxin risk (ochratoxin) from grass silages. Drier silages with high fibre and thus lignin content are known to be more prone to the growth of aerobic moulds, both whilst clamped – due to poor consolidation or damage to silage sheeting – and once opened for feeding out due to secondary fermentation. This problem is compounded as the mould growth and aerobic spoilage leads to heating of the ration once mixed.

Fusarium mycotoxin on maize silage

In addition, straw should not be overlooked by producers, as data from last year’s testing of straw found that 81% of samples (n=71) contained at least one mycotoxin, with DON being the most prevalent (63%). Penicillium mycotoxin on grass silage

Mycotoxin testing results Past mycotoxin testing of maize samples (grain and silage) from across Europe carried out by Micron Bio-Systems has confirmed the scale of the ongoing challenge posed by in-feed mycotoxins. Of the samples tested, 84% contained one or more mycotoxins, 58% contained at least two and 26% were contaminated with three or more mycotoxins (see Figure 2).

Fusarium mycotoxin in straw stem

As highlighted in Table 2 mycotoxins are an issue that affects more than just forages. This is supported by testing in 2014, which showed that 80% of tested barley and 75% of tested wheat samples contained at least one mycotoxin. Managing the mycotoxin risk: There are several ways in which producers can reduce the mycotoxin risk. Ensuring that the rumen is as healthy as possible is a good starting point, as the rumen microorganisms provide the first line of defence. It is advisable to include a rumen buffer such as Acid Buf to keep the rumen at the ideal pH to ensure the correct levels of microbes and protozoa are present.

Finally, helping the rumen to remove the mycotoxins through the dietary inclusion of a high quality mycotoxin remediator like UltraSorb-R is key in overcoming the challenge. A clear performance response within 2-3 weeks of adding a broad spectrum, multi-component mycotoxin remediator to the ration is indicative that mycotoxins are present at significant levels.


25 20 15 10 5 0

“Unlike other remediators on the market Ultrasorb R contains more than just clay and has been developed specifically for use in ruminants, it’s unique composition allows it to ‘open up’ important mycotoxins such as DON for deactivation, which other purely clay-based binders are ineffective against” she adds.

84% of Samples Contained Mycotoxins


% of samples

Furthermore, any visibly spoiled or mouldy material should always be discarded and feed-out areas cleaned daily to remove refusals. And if the ration is heating in front of the cows – a sure sign aerobic fungal growth is taking place – consider feeding less, but more often, to reduce the time available for spoilage.

Figure 1: Mycotoxin growth on differing feed types.





Figure 2: Number of European maize samples contaminated with mycotoxins in 2017-18. (source: Micron Bio-Systems).

“Removing DON is particularly important when feeding homegrown crops this winter, as DON can bind with minerals and vitamins in the ration, making them less available alongside the added negative impact on animal performance,” Concludes Ms Barnes.

Please contact an AB Vista representative to find out more about testing for mycotoxins and the use of UltraSorb-R for mycotoxin remediation.


No. of mycotoxins detected



Making the change to dairy beef Joe Howard is one of AHDB’s Strategic Farmers. He farms on the family farm with his uncle and dad in Nottinghamshire. Primarily an arable farm, they also grow vegetables including carrots and parsnips. They have been very intensive in the past, but in 2003, to improve the soil health, they made the decision to introduce grass and livestock into the rotation to help long term sustainability.


oward said: “We have around 500 acres of arable and grassland and another 500 of permanent pasture with some of the pastureland rented from neighbours. On the two main blocks of arable land, around 30-40% is grass working on a ten year rotation. Within the rotation, we grow potatoes, carrots and grass plus fodder beet and maize for finishing the cattle”.

because cows on that type of dairy system are bred to do well on grass. When we’ve had the odd Holstein cross come through, we’ve seen a big difference and they don’t do nearly as well and it’s really difficult to get any fat cover on them.

“Before we started on the dairy beef, we used to have around 200 sucklers, half of which were autumn calvers and half spring – finishing all progeny outdoors. Because of the Aberdeen Angus traits, it could take us up to 36 months to finish which is very slow. We changed to spring calving around five years ago to simplify the system as we had lots of age groups in different locations which took a lot of work. They were all finished on grass with no concentrates and in the winter, we strip fed on forage, rape and kale.

“Because we had the supply of dairy calves, we were running them alongside our suckler herd and although the dairy calves don’t perform as well as sucklers in terms of grades or finishing time, we found, financially it was very hard to pick between them. The native genetics we had in the herd were really slow growing and I was struggling to get the figures to stack up. The mix of genetics we had meant it would be too much of a challenge to get them finished to the right specification, quicker. Another consideration with the native traits were, as they were on an outdoor system and rarely handled, they could be difficult to handle safely with safety of our staff always being top priority.

“We set up the dairy beef enterprise six years ago, taking dairy cross Angus calves from our dairy business partner. The dairy cows are mainly British and Irish Friesiantype rather than the Jersey or New Zealand type cross bred. We took those calves initially, because they were available but we were pleasantly surprised at how well they did on a grass system – but that’s probably

“The main thing we’ve found is there’s better scope to make more profit from dairy beef – there’s a bigger margin per animal but it’s more work. The final decision to reduce suckler numbers dramatically came when the Beast from the East hit in 2018. We always calved outdoors and unfortunately due to the extreme weather conditions that year we lost a considerable number of


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

calves. This was soul destroying and made us question if we were running the right system and the answer we came to was, no, we didn’t want to continue when the risk was so high. “We now buy all of our calves from our business partner. They use sexed semen to avoid producing black and white male calves, everything else is served by Aberdeen Angus AI with sweeper bulls put in between 6-9 weeks after AI. We provide the sweeper bulls as we’ve kept 50 sucklers for this purpose, it means we can better control the genetics. The sweeper bulls we provide are cherry picked, based on a combination of growth rate, performance, beef finishing ability and hardiness for sweeper activity. Hardiness is particularly important because the bulls have to walk long distances to keep up with the dairy cows each day. “This close relationship we have is key – by being able to decide on which semen and which sweeper bulls are used means we can choose what’s going to work best for all parties. This way we all know the health status of the herd, how much colostrum each calf is taking in the critical period as from that we can deduce how well the calf will perform throughout its life. Without the partnership, I would have hesitated to move into dairy beef full time.”

Kaz Strycharczyk | Guest Vet

t e V t s e Gu Kaz Strycharczyk Black Sheep Farm Health

Breeding Soundness Examinations F or those of you with spring calving suckler cows, you will either be awash with calves or they will be imminent. These calves represent future income. The return may be seen by the end of the year for producers of weaned calves; for those selling more mature or finished animals, that return is even more distant. Suckled beef production is a long-term game. With that in mind, the best producers look to the future so they can note, and ward off, any obstacles to the health and profitability of their herds.

In policy circles, this is known as ‘horizon scanning’, there are groups of academics dedicated to identifying potential threats to the existence of mankind, then weighting them by importance before attempting to formulate solutions to these catastrophes. It is a common business adage that ‘only the paranoid survive’, a principle expounded in the 1988 book of the same name by the late Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel. From a military perspective, it is the Duke of Wellington that is often attributed to the quote ‘The whole art of war consists of guessing at what is on the other side of the hill.”. How could this be applied to suckler enterprises? While conformation and weight of animals are significant determinants of farm revenue; the number of animals sold is just as, if not more, significant. This number is determined by cow conception and calf survival. Bull fertility is a cornerstone of both. For reference, a fully fertile bull should be able to achieve a 95% pregnancy rate

in a group of 40-50 cows after 9 weeks. Totally infertile bulls are very uncommon, instead, ‘subfertile’ bulls (around 20% of the breeding bulls out there) are a common issue. Over a compact bulling period, they will get fewer cows in-calf with more calves in the second and third cycles. Later calving cows have less time to recover before bulling again, leading to lower conception rates in the next year. If the bulling period is prolonged (the target being nine weeks for cows and six weeks for heifers – although the UK average is fifteen weeks), cow conception will improve as he gets more opportunities to mate. Calves born in the later cycles are less profitable for several reasons: • Indoors they are more likely to contract perinatal diseases due to a dirtier environment • They have less time to grow before sale and so reach lower weights; • Replacement heifers have less time to reach target body weights and puberty. • Cow treatments to enhance cow fertility and calf health (e.g. scour vaccines) can wane if calving is prolonged.

So, subfertile bulls compromise cow conception and calf survival, not only in the next year but in the one after that too. The bull breeding soundness examination (BBSE) is one way the suckler farmer can ‘horizon scan’. By identifying subfertile bulls, it can protect cow conception and calf survival. Past performance is no guarantee of future success.

Bulls are athletes and, like any athlete, they pick up injuries, their enthusiasm can diminish, and eventually they lose their physical edge. For this reason, every stock bull should undergo a BBSE, every year.

The BBSE will give you an indication (not a guarantee, but as good as you will get) towards how fit for purpose your bulls are. It encompasses much more than giving a thumbs-up to a semen sample, physical health and anatomy are also assessed. It has its limitations: rarely can we assess libido at the BBSE, and it is only a snapshot as things can always go wrong during the bulling period. Both limitations can be remedied with sound stockmanship. The BBSE should be carried out well in advance (4-8 weeks) of intended breeding – your vet will be able to advise you on the process.

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Joining disease accreditation schemes has improved control and boosted performance of a Wiltshire suckler herd. John White and his son Douglas bought their first Red Ruby Devon cows 12 years ago when they put parts of their 500ha Overtown Farm near Wroughton, Wiltshire into Higher Level Stewardship – but disease soon started to impact the herd’s performance.


vertown sits on typical Wiltshire chalk and grows linseed, winter wheat, and winter and spring barley. For many years the White family’s dairy herd provided a break for the cropping and made use of the farm’s permanent grazing, but it was dispersed in 2007. After that, John and Douglas were keen to find another use for these areas and discovered the native breed qualified for agri-environment schemes. So they started building the Barbury Red Ruby Devon herd in 2008 with eight females, finishing the calves at 18 months and selling to a local butcher. The pair found that the sucklers fitted in well to a more mixed rotation; soon they were able to add haylage for racehorses as one of the enterprises and started building the herd up to 50, with occasional sales of pedigree stock. However, after a few years they noticed niggling problems with fertility and liveweight gains, with a knock-on effect on calving pattern and feed stocks.


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

After discussions with their veterinarian Ella White from Drove Farm Vets, John and Douglas decided they should be checking for disease and would aim for high health status through a CHECS-accredited cattle health scheme. They wanted to improve performance and optimise the contribution the cows made to farm profits. They weren’t sure whether they had brought in disease at the start or when building the herd, but after signing up with Premium Cattle Health Scheme and taking their first tests in 2012, they found that Johne’s Disease, Leptospirosis, BVD and IBR were all present in the herd. Working with Ella for a number of years they tested and culled affected animals. This brought the Whites to the point where IBR and Leptospirosis were eliminated within two years and Johne’s Disease had reached level one, the lowest risk status. Since then, the pair have opted to continue testing for the diseases rather than vaccinating, where they can, reckoning that the costs balance out, but they do vaccinate

John White (l) and son Douglas

for BVD. They have stayed clear of BVD and Leptospirosis but had a positive test for IBR in 2019, which John thinks came in with some store cattle. “We had spare feed and so bought some stores without thinking too much about disease,” explains John. “Frustratingly we then had a positive test for IBR and our Johne’s status fell to level three. We haven’t had a clinical case of Johne’s, but this episode has reminded us of why we need to keep on top of these diseases, and how easily you can lose control. We now only buy in from high health status herds and are IBR free and down to a level two for Johne’s.

Feature Suckler herd improves health through accreditation scheme “Fortunately, we think the damage has been minimal, which is just as well as we have plans to develop the herd,” he adds. “Until recently we split calving between autumn and spring but are moving back to spring-only calving to fit with our cropping pattern. “We also want to build the herd to 60 and calve everything within nine weeks. You can’t do that unless you have optimal fertility and nothing is holding them back, and you can’t achieve that unless you’re in control of disease.” TB is their other concern. In an Edge Area, they have sporadic problems with TB but are now free of it after having their second clear test in November 2020. “We will go for a while and be clear, then have an inconclusive or a reactor. The farm is ring fenced so we know there’s no cattle-tocattle contact, so we have worked to increase the protection against wildlife. We have made our buildings more secure against wildlife and no longer creep feed the calves,” explains John. As part of this they may look at whether CHECS TB Herd Accreditation is worth participating in. The programme requires specific biosecurity measures as well as isolation and testing of new animals, all of which needs to be signed off by the vet. However, the reward is that after a year of being Officially TB Free (OTF), those in six-monthly testing areas can apply to revert to test annually. With Defra announcing that High Risk Areas are soon to join Edge Areas in six-monthly tests, this could be beneficial for some herds like the White’s. “Once we get clear of TB, we’ll look at whether accreditation will work for us. Certainly, TB testing a load of suckler cattle in the summer months isn’t easy.”

Infectious diseases are a drain on any herd – but simple biosecurity steps can dramatically reduce the risk of transmission. Whether producers are looking to control Johne’s, BVD or TB, many of the UK’s health assurance scheme protocols rest on biosecure principles. This means that farmers who adopt them are not only reducing the risk of one disease, but all infectious diseases. According to Sarah Tomlinson at Westpoint Farm Vets, who advises CHeCS (Cattle Health Certification Standards) on bovine TB, the first step is straightforward: Minimise contact with infectious animals. That may be other cattle, badgers or deer and involves good fencing and quarantine procedures, as well as basic measures like cleaning water troughs regularly and keeping feed away from wildlife. It’s also important to identify and remove diseased cattle from the herd, and avoid cross-contamination through muck spreading, for example. The benefits to adopting such high standards and becoming accredited include improved health and productivity, higher value sales of stock, and a clear route to disease eradication. For more information visit

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SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Breed Society Focus | Aberdeen-Angus


the breed, the brand, the members


ith over 2,500 members, the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society is one of the largest beef societies in the UK. Its members range from established herds, such as the Ballindalloch herd in Scotland, who have been farming the native ‘black cow’ for over two centuries, to those like council member Chris Wilkinson, who began breeding Aberdeen-Angus cattle less than a decade ago. Among its membership are those with accolades in the show ring, herds who are providing genetics to other businesses globally, and producers like Chris, who chose the breed on its valuable end product. “As breeders, we’re fortunate to have a breed which is renowned globally by our end user – the consumer,” says Chris. “It’s the most popular breed in countries where eating quality is measured and a premium is paid to the producer, such as in the USA and Australia, so we have global market opportunities.” 2020 saw a rise in beef consumption per head in the UK. In the first half of the year, a survey by the NCBA’s Consumer Beef Tracker data1 saw the percentage of consumers claiming to eat beef at least once a week increase from 67% to 72%, in the same period in 2019. Additionally, positive perceptions of beef reached 70% for the first time, and positive perceptions regarding how cattle are raised rose to 18% compared to 2019 figures. “This is great news for all beef producers,” notes Chris. “If we don’t have appetite from the end market, we don’t have a place on the supermarket shelves. What’s even better for Aberdeen-Angus producers, is the acknowledgement of the great eating quality of the beef produced. “To keep consumers satisfied, and a demand for our beef, meat eating quality is key. However, it’s all very well saying we produce the best quality meat – it needs to be proven.”

Meeting market demand The name Aberdeen-Angus has long been associated with a mark of premium quality, but until now, this fact hasn’t


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

Chris Willkinson

been substantiated by the general public. The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society asked consumers to ‘chew the cud’ over their best beef choices, with the world’s most wellknown breed coming in on top. The independent consumer survey found that out of 2,174 participants, over half agreed that the origin of the meat they purchased was paramount to how they felt, with 40% stating buying British was the most important factor they considered when purchasing red meat. The results confirmed that those surveyed associated a mark of excellence to the Aberdeen-Angus breed, with the word ‘quality’ featuring among the most commonly associated words. Furthermore, when looking for the perfect steak, 1,261 of those surveyed agreed that Aberdeen-Angus meat has a better flavour in comparison to other beef on the market. Complementing these results, in a recent Irish study, Aberdeen-Angus scored the highest for tenderness, so across the board the response has been positive for the breed. “As a beef producer, it’s important I understand what the end-user really wants from the product,” says Chris. “As a Society, through commissioning the survey we were able to report findings back to members, enabling us to support them in making future business decisions which will ensure they produce the best beef possible. The Society is investing in the infrastructure at a Board, Committee and support level for membership to do just this.

“We’re appointing experts in research and development (R&D) to provide knowledge to farmers on how we can utilise the best genetics available, and are seeking new additions to the Society in Breed Development positions. As a member myself, this great to see.”

A breed for the future Despite media-hype that surrounds beef production, Chris says it is an exciting and thriving time to be producing British beef. “The figures speak for themselves – consumers want to eat red meat, and value the origin and way in which the product is produced. As an industry, it’s our job to continue to meet these expectations by creating a tasty, high-quality product in a transparent way. “As a society, we’re working closely with supermarkets and meat processors to outline opportunities for our producers to have an outlet to supply their beef. We’re also investing in procedures and technology to verify traceability of cattle and meat,” he explains. “It’s definitely the time to be a high-quality British beef producer, whatever your breed. We, the farmers, need to maintain the standards we’re working to, and work with industry or consumer pressures to produce high-quality meat in an efficient, profitable and sustainable way.”

Industry News

A new initiative to celebrate

50 Years of performance recording Sussex cattle B

etween 1968 and 1971 over 500 Sussex calves were recorded as part of the early weight recording programmes developed by the newly created Meat and Livestock Commission. 50 years later and with Signet Breeding Services at the helm, we now use the latest statistical methods to assess our breeding stock, including the ability to assess the maternal performance of the cow for traits like ease of calving, milk production and longevity. Yet, at the core of Signet’s recording services remains the need to obtain regular updates of high quality data from breeders across the country.

To help with the marketing of bulls, breeders can generate charts and family trees online as before, but now they can also list cattle and semen that they have for sale and produce data in a catalogue format to interest prospective bull buyers.

A promising start Breed Society Secretary, Sue Kennedy says “We have had a massive interest in recent weeks, with more than a dozen new herds already showing interest in recording and a record turnout at Signet’s online meetings. It isn’t just the small herds that are showing interest either, with many larger herds

already capturing the data we need within the farm software programmes.” James Holdstock, Society President, says “I am really pleased that our breeders are taking this opportunity to move their herds forward. I have been informed that nearly 6,000 of the Sussex cattle that are included in Signet’s analysis including many dating back to the 1960’s come from our Elbridge Herd. As one of the earliest herds to start recording we have gained a real insight into our herd genetics and make use of the data to improve herd performance. This is a great opportunity and I would encourage Sussex breeders to get involved.”

In 2020 Signet relaunched its Beefbreeder service to provide online data entry to clients and the ability to access breeding values, reports and stationery at the click of a button.

Sussex Cattle Society initiative First to take advantage of these new services has been the Sussex Cattle Society, who have decided to offer its members free access to all of Signet’s services from 2021. As part of a new initiative with Signet, the Sussex Cattle Society will fund the recording costs of any Society member that has paid their capitation fees; effectively removing the financial barrier that may have previously limited smaller herds from engaging in weight recording. From 2021, data collection services for Sussex cattle will move entirely online. Extra data has been provided by the Society to support this work – including the provision of pedigree records for 1,500 stock bulls to strengthen the genetic evaluations and enhance Signet’s cutting edge, inbreeding software. Amongst the new services provided, breeders are being encouraged to weigh their cows at weaning time as the recording programme shines a spotlight on the efficiency of the Sussex as a suckler cow designed to thrive on low input forage.

For more information about the Sussex recording programme and to view Estimated Breeding Values for Sussex cattle go to Video clips explaining how breeders can use the service can be accessed here For further information contact • Sue Kennedy at • Samuel Boon at

SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Breed Society News

Breed Society


Beef Shorthorn continues on a roll Registrations up 60% and membership doubles in last 10 years The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society has reported yet another record uptake during 2020 adding to its continual growth over the last decade. In the last 12 months, registrations increased to 4,239, up 60% since 2010. In addition, the Society attracted 138 new members, up 10% year on year, and more than doubled in the last decade to an active membership of 1,056,” president, Cathryn Williamson told the annual meeting held online, 14 March. Furthermore, those trends were mirrored in the 2020 BCMS calf registrations which show that over the last 10 years, UK Beef Shorthorn and Beef Shorthorn cross populations within the beef sector have increased by a significant 222%, the fastest rate of any breed, and over 60% greater than the next highest. Charles Horton of the Hannington herd, Poulton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire was elected president, and vice president, Tim Riley, Stoneyroyd herd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Four new directors were elected: South of England, Tina Russell; North of England, Alistair Gibson; and Scotland, Pamela Nicol and John Scott,; whilst Richard Henning was reelected Northern Ireland and Eire. “Despite working within Covid-19 restrictions, I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to champion Beef Shorthorn, which is quite clearly meeting with the sector’s current requirements for a modern functional suckler cow that offers in-demand maternal traits including calving ease, milkiness and motherability. Beef producers are also noting its quiet temperament and its suitability for low input forage based systems,” commented Mrs Williamson who completed her twoyear term of office.


The National Beef Association Magazine | SPRING 2021

“These demand trends have been confirmed by the latest BCMS data which confirms that the number of Beef Shorthorn sired cattle is continuing to increase faster than any other breed, both native and Continental. Furthermore, Morrisons Shorthorn Beef Scheme continues to fuel demand from finishers in the store ring for steers and heifers surplus to replacement requirements. “The last 12 months have witnessed Beef Shorthorn breaking four record figures in the Stirling pedigree ring at the Society’s official sales. A new 15,000gns female price tag and £3,543 female average was achieved in October. Last month, bulls sold to 27,000gns and achieved a new £6,127 average whilst Beef Shorthorn enjoyed the best of the two-week multi-breed sales and was commended for being the only breed to record an increase in the number sold compared to the 2020 event. “The Society’s activities have adapted to the Covid-19 restrictions with the introduction of a web based Marketplace providing online opportunities to buy and sell Beef Shorthorn cattle both pedigree and commercial, along with semen. We have launched a series of webinars designed to inform and inspire stakeholders with subjects including performance recording and herd health. We have also developed a series of web based Focus Farms - commercial units discussing data led benefits of introducing Beef Shorthorn to their respective suckler herds. “One offer the Society has been able to continue is Linear Classification; 1,165 cattle from 85 herds were classified in 2020 bringing the total number to 6,343 females inspected in 150 UK herds since the initiative’s launch with independent classifiers five years ago.”

SALERS - the flexible female that fits all! The renowned maternal traits of fertility, a large pelvis and average birth weights of 36.1Kgs (heifers) and 38.3Kgs (bull calves) *, mean you can enjoy watching your calves being born and suckling, unassisted. The calf is vigorous, and the dam is milky resulting in more kilos at weaning. Salers produce easy calving offspring with equally impressive finishing weights and grades. This gives you the option to select any terminal sire and any management system. This flexible female fits all and is the Ultimate Suckler Breed! *Breedplan statistics for full blood animals in 2020

Bring some ‘Maternal Magic’ to your farm! There will be a selection of bulls for sale alongside the final dispersal of yearling heifers from the Aidansfield Herd of Pedigree Salers at:

United Auctions, Stirling on Sunday 2nd May 2021 & Monday 3rd May 2021 There will also be a selection of Pedigree females, bulls, production drafts and commercial Salers available at:

Welshpool Spring Sale of Pedigree and Commercial Salers on Thursday 20th May 2021 at approximately 1pm. For more information, please contact Sian on 07903 626249, or email: For photographs of lots, video clips, breeding information & EBV’s and the downloadable catalogues please visit

Breed Societies News

Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society appoints new head Clive Brown has been appointed as operations manager/ breed secretary of the Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society. He will leave his current post in April as head of AHDB’s Beef and Lamb Knowledge Exchange team after a career in the livestock sector including the last 17 years with EBLEX and AHDB. Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society immediate past president, Cathryn Williamson commented: “We are delighted to announce the appointment and look forward to working with Clive who combines practical experience with many years developing the beef industry through supply chain management whilst working in the commercial sector, as well as for the levy board. I am confident that Clive will build on the continual improvements that we have made in developing the Society as a modern functioning organisation that supports the future of the breed and our membership.” Clive Brown added: “I am looking forward to joining the Society and helping to maximize the breed’s potential. Whilst Beef Shorthorn has a great historic past, it has a really exciting future as a perfect fit for new and emerging environmental schemes and beef managed in lower input systems.”


BULL CATALOGUE ONLINE View on our website 01580880105 SPRING 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


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NBA Membership

National Beef Association

Membership WHO ARE THE NBA?


The NBA is a charity, set up by beef farmers, for beef farmers. We exist to express the views of real farmers to politicians to ensure they are understood and represented in policy. Over the years we have fought against unfair trading practises, advised Government on disease management policies and now are working hard to ensure beef farmers have a future post Brexit.

Members receive a weekly e-newsletter, which includes the latest market information and NBA and industry news. We also produce a quarterly magazine for our membership including beef research, policy positions and health articles. Our members have access to our breeding terms and conditions of sale FOC, a step by step guide to selling breeding animals.



Without the support of fellow farmers we wouldn’t be able to carry out our work on behalf of the industry. The NBA is also great for networking and sharing knowledge. Members have the chance to join regional committees which feed into our policy strategies and we run many industry farm walks, meetings and trips across the UK which are discounted or free for our membership.

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For more information call NBA head office on 01434 601005 or email Visit our website to join today. THE NBA IS GRATEFUL TO THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES AND ORGANISATIONS FOR THEIR SUPPORT.


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When used as part of a comprehensive approach to BVD including culling of PIs and biosecurity.

References: 1. Yarnall and Thrusfield (2017) Vet Record doi: 10.1136/vr.104370 2. Kynetec (2019) BVD sales data by value. Full year 2018 3. For active immunisation of cattle against BVDV-1 and BVDV-2, to prevent the birth of persistently infected calves caused by transplacental infection. Bovela lyophilisate and solvent for suspension for injection for cattle contains modified live BVDV-1, non-cytopathic parent strain KE-9: 104.0– 106.0 TCID50, modified live BVDV-2, non-cytopathic parent strain NY-93: 104.0–106.0 TCID50. UK: POM-V. Further information available in the SPC or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd, RG12 8YS, UK. Tel: 01344 746957. Email: Bovela is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, used under licence. ©2019 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: Jul 2019. AHD12633. Use Medicines Responsibly.

MakE BVD history