NBA Winter Magazine 2021

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Regional Round Ups Guest Writers News & Industry Health Breed Societies Winter 2021 | ISSUE 21



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Winter 2021 ISSUE 21

10 Front cover photo credit: Jenny Hurst EDITOR Julie Holmes National Beef Association Concorde House 24 Warwick New Road Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV32 5JG 01434 601005

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DEPUTY EDITOR Neil Shand CHAIRMAN Andrew Laughton ADVERTISING Julie Holmes 01434 601005 DESIGN, PRINT & PUBLISHING Ghost Design Consultants A National Beef Association Publication A specialist organisation open to everyone with an interest in the UK beef industry.




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NBA give notice that no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior consent of the publishers. Every care is taken when compiling editorial and advertisements and the publishers can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions arising from publication. Views expressed and information contained in The National Beef Association Magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or of the National Beef Association who cannot therefore be held responsible for any reason arising therefrom. Neither the Association, the Publisher nor the Editors endorses any services or products advertised in this Magazine.



Chairman’s Report


Chief Executive Report


Regional Round Ups Guest Vet – Sarah Tomlinson

20-21 22

Guest Auctioneer – Alistair Sneddon


Breed Society Focus


Breed Society News


Red Tractor scheme updates focus on cattle health


Supporting pre-weaning performance & beyond


The benefits of integrating livestock into arable rotations




Weighing drives efficiency


WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Chairman’s Welcome

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


s we reach the end of the year and reflect upon it – yet again it has us scratching our heads as to where our industry is headed. On the one hand we have very strong and welcome primestock prices led I am sure by the retailers, all but two, who are now stipulating fresh British beef from their processors. On the other we have as of this week, one firm at least trying to pull the price back 5p – Are there really that many cattle about? Though I will accept that most companies have by now processed their Christmas requirement? And whilst we ponder the sale end of our industry input prices have us in an even bigger quandary! Fertiliser prices tripled in a few months, feed prices up and still rising – wheat £230 + for May, as well as just about every other thing we touch up by double digit increases, that’s if we can get our hands on what we need and when we want it! Whilst we try and work out the above on a day to day basis there are much bigger things waiting in the wings to bring next year’s challenges. In addition to climate and disease and imports we have the often ugly and usually very difficult and thorny issue of succession. I wanted to talk about it because my father died in September and it has brought things very clearly into focus. Farms can be very complex businesses where perhaps there are multiple family members, their spouses, land, tenancies, taxation, the future, to mention just a few that can affect the transition from one generation to the next. Unfortunately in our industry, relations between generations can often be tense at best – which is baffling because most


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

will want the same outcome – a good farm, healthy stock and a healthy business. But I guess focus on daily issues can vary much within a business.

So…. And I realise I am in difficult territory here but I would urge businesses and families to face it head on and try and have open and frank discussions as to expectations and aspirations for the business and for the family working within it. I would also urge that that is done sooner rather than later – for obvious reasons. And a message for the generations here and I say this with the best of intentions but to our parents and grandparents – there is a generation growing up with so much enthusiasm but so much to learn and often we look at the stockmanship or the ability to work all night as important but please take some time to have the young uns in the meeting with the bank manager let them learn the business, keeping hold

of the cheque book is understandable to keep influence and involvement in a job to which you have given a lifetime of toil but please put them in a position to maximise and build on that toil. To the young uns – remember that when our grandparents and parents started out there was no power steering or air conditioning remember and respect that toil I mentioned above, but think about the business and the opportunities, listen to your elders they have learned a lot in all those years. I suppose in an ideal world the youth coupled with the experience can build a formidable team and in the worst time spent arguing and ignoring has the opposite effect. Please talk, listen, and face those thorny issues whilst working to a solution that sees that farm thrive. To finish the year a little story about a succession meeting put on by some accountants and the like. A good many tweed jackets and father and myself. They put forward models of how things might be managed – the need for a bungalow, and for an extra man and the financial implications around it. Any questions they asked. Up stands my father, “Yes” he says. I cringe. “I notice in the example you have put forward you say you would need an extra man to take the place of the retiring father?” he asks They nodded “Well in our case they would need two!” There was much laughter and a round of applause. Rest peacefully Dad, I’ll go get on – you taught me well. Compliments of the season to you all, and please appreciate what you have.

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Chief Executive’s Report

Challenges for 2022 Neil Shand


e leave 2021 with the beef industry in reasonably good shape, although input prices have risen sharply in the last few weeks. If I had said in April 2020 that the farm gate price would rise by 85 pence per kilo in the next 18 months, my state of mind may just have been questioned! It’s likely that the challenges facing us in 2022 will be largely consistent with those of the last 18 months, although it’s obviously difficult to predict the pandemic complications which may arise next. 2019 was the last comparable year, and it’s likely involving 2020 and 2021 are, in reality, unhelpful and misleading, and tell us little about what to expect for the coming year. However, one thing is certain; coronavirus has changed the way people live their lives, and we can expect some permanent changes on the back of this – our ‘new normal’. Having said this, the prediction based on current issues is that next year’s challenges will revolve around industry reputation, environmental solutions and farm support. In an ever-evolving world where transparency is vital, and long-forgotten spoken or written words can be regurgitated at any time, we must be mindful of the increasing microscopic analysis of food production, especially where animals are involved. Our processes must be bombproof and fully transparent. Too much airtime spent fighting back on dietary choices is not a sensible use of energy; people should have freedom of choice to decide what and how they eat. We should use our resources to ensure that our standards remain steadfast and comprehensive, so that the reputation of the industry cannot be exploited by failings in health and welfare systems. The Westminster Government has made it clear that they will not dictate what the population should and shouldn’t eat, we must embrace this support and hold them to their promises. There is a lot of media and industry focus on the recent trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, but perhaps we should be less concerned about this than we appear to be. Global demand for beef is


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

increasing, and we would do well to ensure our own house is in order – our standards are at the top of the list, and everything should be geared towards maintaining and improving them, thus protecting the reputation of home production. The Climate Change Committee are harbouring for a 20% reduction in meat consumption by 2030; this covers all meats - beef, lamb, pork, chicken and even fish - and is an overall reduction not a 20% reduction per sector. Looking at current trends and the obvious fact that people must eat a certain quantity of food to survive, these proposed reductions appear completely unachievable. Perhaps it would make much more sense for the Climate Change Committee to consider researching targets that are actually attainable. The environmental challenge is massive, and the potential for mistakes to be made more so. In the rush to try and ‘fix climate change’ in the shortest time possible, long term side effects of hastily-made decisions are being overlooked. Projects implemented without any thought of long term effects are those which have the potential to be catastrophic. Eighteen months ago, we were assured there would be no resale value for carbon credits. Now, good land is being sold to foreign investors to grow trees and to claim the carbon credits with no idea how their value is calculated. In the same vein, a famous Aberdeenshire brewery is promising to plant a tree for every pint they produce; it appears they intend to correct their fouling of our planet by planting trees on good arable land previously used to grow food. Whilst planting trees may seem a great way to partially solve one problem, it’s just creating problems of a different kind. Our food-producing land is being lost for the future; it is not a sustainable plan for a United Kingdom that is currently barely 50% self-sufficient. We cannot eat trees. Carbon auditing of all farms is on the horizon. Before we are forced into this, we need huge investment for research to develop the best possible calculator. We are currently in danger of turning our

industry on its head based on a series of calculators that are simply not reliable or fit for purpose; we are still debating GWP 100 versus GWP*. All Governments need to invest heavily into this science, and even more into ruminant methane inhibitors. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of research and investment in science, and the results that can be achieved in a short period of time if the will and determination are there. The future of farm support is of major concern to all beef producers. The in-calf cows currently housed for winter will calve next spring; these calves will be our consumed beef in 2024. The inexorability of our processing chain is such that it is imperative we are aware of the levels of support available. During COP26, targets were set to reduce menthane outputs by 30% by 2030 – this was agreed by many (but not all) countries. We know that if we reduce the average age at slaughter by even 3 months, we can reduce emissions from beef production by approximately 20%. The eradication of endemic disease could add a further 13%. Add the two together and we can realistically achieve the emissions reduction target, without any reduction in total livestock numbers - and the corresponding drop in self-sufficiency at all. Now is the time for these activities to be rewarded. It works on many levels; outcomebased support for a measurable reduction in emissions - public money for public good. It’s imperative that the financial benefit which should be due to producers who make these changes is allocated to them before others within the sector demand them as part of their environmental goals. The pandemic has united farmers with their consumers at levels probably not seen since the end of the Second World War. This support, aided by the resilience of our industry, will see us enter 2022 with confidence, and ready and able to face our challenges and embrace our opportunities. Wishing you a happy Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous 2022.

The Beef Expo 2022 will be held at Darlington Farmers Mart

Saturday 28th May 2022

TRADESTANDS | SEMINARS | FARM TOURS | AND MORE… Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for further updates.

Industry News

Red Tractor scheme updates focus on cattle health There are many different health schemes in place across the UK covering the beef sector, and producers are rewarded with improved animal performance and, often, better prices by participating.


t’s worth noting that the Red Tractor standards were updated with effect from the 1st November 2021. This included a new recommendation for beef farms to show evidence that a BVD eradication plan is being implemented and, from October 2022 this will move from a recommendation to a full standard. Other health-related changes include that all farms will need to move to an annual herd health plan reviewed annually by a nominated vet who should visit the farm at least once a year. In addition, all units must ensure that at least one member of the farm team on beef and sheep farms has undertaken medicine training. This is currently a recommendation and follows changes previously implemented in the dairy sector. Further details can be found on the Red Tractor website https:// Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is an interesting place to start; it’s a worldwide disease of cattle of economic and welfare significance yet vaccination levels in the UK have changed little in recent years. It can be controlled with a combination of testing, removing PI cattle, surveillance and vaccination. Eradication schemes are in place in all parts of the UK. In Scotland and Northern Ireland this is mandatory, while it currently remains voluntary in England and Wales. The virus generally causes a short-term infection and can linger unseen in a


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

herd, potentially leading to devastating consequences. Clinical signs include fever, respiratory signs, diarrhoea, embryonic death, abortion, poor calf health and occasionally death.

Ailsa Milnes from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health

“BVD is frequently perceived to be more of an issue for dairy farmers than beef but, in reality, this isn’t the case,” says Ailsa Milnes from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health which makes Bovela®, the UK’s leading BVD vaccine1.

“The impact of BVD on fertility – which is essential for anyone breeding beef calves – and calf health cannot be under-stated.” She adds “If an in-calf cow is exposed to the virus during the first third of pregnancy, this can result in the production of a Persistently Infected (PI) animal which acts as a virus factory. “This means that the virus remains active in the calf throughout its life and it could go on to spread the virus to herd-mates. PI animals typically fail to thrive, and often succumb to infection or mucosal disease. In contact animals that become

infected with the virus will also be rendered more susceptible to disease due to immunosuppression. At the same time, the PI calf’s immune function is damaged permanently leaving it more susceptible to other diseases such as pneumonia. All eradication schemes state that a PI should be culled immediately.” AHDB data shows that BVD vaccination of breeding cattle remains steady at between 42-45% in the last decade2. It does acknowledge this may be conservative, as a proportion of female cattle aged 12-24 months are destined for slaughter, and not breeding, but does highlight that the new guidelines are likely to require increased vaccination uptake in the beef sector.

Industry News

“Mucosal vaccines are less affected by MDA which means they can be used at a very young age and help protect the calf during that vulnerable initial threemonth period,” explains Dr Milnes.

Table: BVD vaccine uptake in breeding cattle shown2

Courtesy of AHDB According to Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health’s 2021 National BVD Survey, some producers are still falling foul of vaccine timing issues. Just under a fifth of respondents said they had had to restart a vaccination course because they had missed the six month booster, incorrectly timed the two-shot primary course or gone beyond the 12 month window3. 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. ®

“Simplifying vaccine timing can be especially helpful,” Dr Milnes concludes. “Using the online timing tool at allows you to review your vaccination dates with your service dates and its easy-to-follow guide allows you to plan your vaccination timing to prevent any gaps in immunity.”

Respiratory disease Pneumonia, or BRD, in cattle is one of the costliest diseases affecting cattle units and can be an issue in young pre-weaned calves as well as older calves and youngstock. With it comes a loss in production and often, a permanent growth check. Calves up until about three months of age possess antibodies from their dam’s colostrum - MDA (maternally derived antibodies). MDA will provide a certain level of protection for the calf, whose own immune system isn’t fully up and running just yet. However, the downside is that these colostral antibodies can interfere with vaccines given by injection4.

So what’s the answer? Intranasal vaccines, also called mucosal vaccines, have been shown to be a good option for the young calf.

“In the case of pneumonia, viruses arrive through the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose. Studies have shown that giving a live vaccine intranasally stimulates a broad and fast-acting local immune response, which acts as a barrier to the entry of harmful wild type viruses5. In simple terms, this acts as a gatekeeper or barrier to the entry of these pathogens” Bovalto® Respi Intranasal delivers rapid protection against RSV and PI3 and can be used from 10 days of age. This can then be followed with a two shot course of injectable vaccines which provide protection for six months from 3 weeks after the primary course is administered. The Bovalto® Respi injectable range protects against the key respiratory viruses RSV and PI3 and the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica, and can follow an initial intranasal dose. “Ultimately, it’s about planning and preparing so you know when to effectively use your vaccines,” concludes Dr Milnes “Working with your vet to update health plans for these two important areas of cattle health should help improve herd performance, efficiency and sustainability.”

References 1. Kynetec (2021) Market share data. 2. AHDB (2019) The use of vaccines in cattle and sheep production. AHDB, Kenilworth. 3. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health (2021) National BVD Survey, January 2021 4. Chase et al. (2008) Vet. Clinics of N. America: Food Animal Practice 24: 87-104 5. Griebel (2009) Expert Rev. Vaccines 8(1): 1-3

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Supporting pre-weaning performance and beyond… Modern housing, careful management and the combined use of two specialist calf feeds are helping to fuel strong growth rates on Drewett Farming Ltd’s calf rearing enterprise.


e have the capacity to rear 120 beef calves at any one time on the unit and aim to turn over seven batches of calves each year,” explains Sophie Holder, who is the livestock manager on the Wiltshire based calf enterprise. “We sell animals on at three to four months of age - around 130 kg liveweight - to a range of private beef buyers. “To hit these targets, we need calves to be achieving an average of 0.8 - 1kg of DLWG and everything is geared around hitting these figures. Like any youngstock unit, feed is a big area of focus for us and we have found that using a specialist calf skimmed milk powder during the pre-weaning phase, along with ad-lib feeding of a 18% protein nut, really gets calves off to a great


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

start. This combination provides a solid foundation for strong growth rates during later life.” Drewett Farming Ltd’s calf rearing unit was built in 2019 on a greenfield site and is operated alongside an arable and forage crop growing enterprise, as well as a flock of 500 breeding Lleyn ewes. Drewett Farming aims to source large batches of calves from individual farms, bringing calves on to the unit at three to four weeks of age. New calves are disbudded and receive Rispoval RS-PI3 Intranasal vaccinations for pneumonia, within their first month on the unit. “The rearing unit was purpose built, so to help reduce labour requirements, it was designed to enable scraping and bedding to be done mechanically,” explains Sophie.

“We also benefit from a feed management point of view by having the unit spilt into two distinct parts – with a ‘milk feeding’ section of the unit for pre-weaning calves and a ‘solid feeding’ section for weaned animals.


“The milk feeding portion of the unit is further split into six large bays, with 20 calves in each bay. Three of these bays have access to an automated milk feeder – a Foster Technick – and the other three are have access to a conventional milk bar. There will be a batch of 60 calves feeding via each method at any one time, and each calf is fed 900g of VITAMILK Rearer 22% protein milk powder, per head, per day. This powder is mixed and delivered at a rate of six litres of milk replacer per day, if a calf is being fed by the automatic feeder and four litres per day if they are on the milk bar.” Weaning takes place at eight weeks of age, over a 10-day period and then calves are moved to the ‘solid feeding’ portion of the unit. “To encourage solid feed intakes preweaning, calves are fed ad-lib ForFarmers Calf Complete nuts whilst on milk and also have access to ad-lib barley straw,” says Sophie. “The Calf Complete nuts are 18% protein and we feed them ad-lib until intakes are 4kg per head, per day. This target is usually achieved by about 9-10 weeks of age” Using a combination of both high-protein nuts and skimmed milk powder has worked well in developing pre-weaning calves and both Sophie and her ForFarmers account manager, Poppy Clark, have been pleased with the results.

takes around 12 hours to leave a calf’s abomasum - compared to two hours with a whey-based product. “The Calf Complete nuts do a good job at supporting frame development due to their high protein content, but the addition of Levucell live yeast also has a big production benefit.

“Feeding youngstock with live yeast has been proven to aid rumen development, improve rumen efficiency and ease the transition of cattle on to high energy, high starch finishing diets.”

At one-point last year, Sophie did move on to another milk powder but noticed that it didn’t quite match up to the performance of VITAMILK. “The different powder didn’t mix well, made a mess of the automated milker and the calves didn’t look as good” concludes Sophie. “So we’ve reverted back to our ‘standard’ calf feed combination and the calves are doing really well. “We used to weigh our calves with a weigh band, but we now use electronic scales in order to increase the accuracy of measurements. Calves are weighed as soon as they arrive on the unit and then every three weeks after that, so it is easy for us to spot how well the calves are doing.” Any farmers looking to buy or sell beef calves can contact George Drewett from Drewett Farming Ltd on – Tel: 07846404572 or email: drewett.

Sophie Holder and Poppy Clark

“Sophie has been achieving some really strong DLWG in her calves and much of this success is testament to her excellent management and attention to detail, as well as good feeding,” explains Poppy. “She has carefully selected calf feed that best suits the rearing unit’s circumstances and production goals. For calf rearing units sourcing calves from different locations, scouring can be a risk factor, but utilising VITAMILK Rearer helps mitigate against this concern. VITAMILK Rearer has a 20% skimmed milk content, which means that it more closely mimics whole milk and is easier to digest. Skimmed milk replacer provides a slow-release energy source that

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Industry News

Review your farm business with AHDB W

ith reductions in Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments beginning this year, taking a wait-and-see approach isn’t an option for farmers and growers who rely on this income. AHDB’s Farm Business Review service, funded by the Defra Future Farming Resilience Fund, is designed to help those most affected by the move away from direct payments to prepare for the biggest agricultural policy shift in a generation.

It is aimed at beef and sheep, dairy and cereals and oilseeds producers across England and this free and impartial service provides expert advice and an online self-assessment tool to support farm businesses through this transition period and help you prepare for a prosperous future. Those who take part will benefit from a one-to-one consultation with an experienced farm adviser to discuss your options and help you get the most out of AHDB’s tools and resources, including

our online Farm Business Review tool, BPS impact calculator and KPI Express calculator. The AHDB Farm Business Review service will only run until February 2022, so act now to help future proof your farm business. Not sure if it is right for you? Hear from the farmers themselves. The case studies below are from farmers who have worked with AHDB and have benefitted from the service.

Ian Willison Beef farmer Ian Willison, of Williamwood Farm, Shire-brook, in Nottingham farms across 81 hectares (200 acres) and with a closed herd of 100 autumn calved suckler Simmental cross Hereford cows, the cuts to direct payments had prompted him to future-proof his business. His Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlement currently sits at £18,000, which will decrease to £9,000 by 2024.


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Industry News

Ian said: “AHDB’s Farm Business Review has provided us with the tools to help future-proof our business and assess how it will cope with such losses. The discussion with AHDB highlighted the importance of breaking down the spending costs to ask whether the reinvestment of these funds was and will continue to be sustainable.” AHDB helped Mr Willison identify that diversification would play a huge role in plugging the gap in financial losses. The service also highlighted potential opportunities to expand the existing business by renting additional land to feed the enterprise’s current herd size. He said: “As the price of fertilisers is increasing, expanding the business in this way could result in a reduced need to buy-in feed or forage off farm. We will need to look at the feasibility of this in more detail, but the need to review our fixed costs and stocking rates are areas which have been flagged as a priority for the business going forward.” Reflecting on his experience, Ian added: “This has been a thought-provoking process, which has made me more aware of my options in the wake of a transition where multiple agri-environment schemes are circulating. Being able to access tailored in-depth advice from an AHDB consultant has helped to demystify the options. This initiative is a great starting point for future planning as we move towards a new era of farming. I for one have been overwhelmed by the number of options available.” Having successfully applied for the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot, Defra’s new scheme could also help the business recoup more than £7,000 in BPS losses. Looking at the next steps for pre- paring Mr Willison’s beef enterprise for the agricultural transition, AHDB’s KPI express calculator helped to unpack the cash position of the business. Ian said: “Running through the flow of funds from profit to cash in the average year, the farm generates a good amount of cash, which would be available for reinvestment into the farm or to be taken as a cash sum at the end of the tenancy. Crucially, without BPS, the farm still generates cash, even on minimal profit levels, which means our farm will not deplete its net worth or asset value if trading continues at current levels without subsidy.”

Adrian Coombe

Adrian Coombe Adrian farms on Dupath Farm, Callington in Cornwall. He is a mixed farmer, with 500 breeding ewes, 200 Angus and Blue dairy-bred beef cattle and has 30.3 hectares (75 acres) of combinable crops, Adrian has a wealth of knowledge about the industry, but like many, remaining profitable in a post-BPS era has proved a grey area. As part of this process, the online Basic Payment Scheme Impact Calculator has been an important tool in assessing the real impact the reduction in direct payments will have on Adrian’s farm business, particularly over the next four-year period. Adrian said: “It is a user-friendly tool which required minimum effort, but the return from which could be incredibly beneficial as we look at our options and plan over the coming years. I was instantly able to see what the financial impact of direct payment cuts would have on our farm business.

“By consulting with AHDB, which followed a farm walk and in-depth discussion of our farming operation, we quickly pinpointed two aspects of the future Sustainable Farming Incentive [SFI], which would be applicable on-farm, with most of the requirements for the grassland and the arable soils standards already being carried out.

“Therefore, with minimal change to the business, we realised we could bring in an additional income of £8,500 for the grassland standard and £1,800 for arable, totalling £10,300.”

While the SFI is not open until 2024, a scaled back version of the scheme will be open to all BPS claimants, including those who are already in Countryside Stewardship schemes. Adrian said: “It does not replace the £30,000 of BPS payments we had previously been receiving, but it will go some way towards offsetting some of these losses and push the business forward without having to drastically alter our systems approach.” With BPS payments on average accounting for about 60% of UK farm net income, Adrian reinforced making use of this free business support service would be paramount, as farmers navigate the biggest agricultural transition since the post-war era. He said: “AHDB, in collaboration with Defra, has put this funding in place to help us all to gear up for the transition to environmental payments, giving us an idea of where improvements need to be made and what we need to address in the short-term, while also planning for the future. The online tools are accessible, easy to use and have provided us with a firm starting point going forward as we now look to work on areas of development within the business. I would urge farmers across all sectors to take this opportunity with both hands.” Learn more about the free advice and support available through AHDB’s Farm Business Review service You can also find a range of information and resources to help your business navigate the changes to agricultural policy online at uk/trade-and-policy.

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Industry News Ian Willoughby from Dyson Farming

Lizzie Sagoo from ADAS and Tom Storr from Dyson Farming

The benefits of integrating livestock into arable rotations An AHDB research project has highlighted the mutual benefits on offer if livestock farmers team up with arable farmers. It investigates the benefits and opportunities of running sustainable beef systems on arable units along with economic rewards.


ost arable farms were mixed enterprises a couple of generations ago, but the livestock have long since disappeared and with it the benefits they brought to the rotation. However, grass leys are slowly creeping back into the arable rotation to help enhance soil health. Could this be the perfect opportunity to consider a farming partnership or an opportunity for additional grazing?

There are tangible benefits of soil improvement and blackgrass reduction from the introduction of leys and livestock into the arable rotation. There are also possible long-term benefits from the cross-sector approach. By combining the two systems, there’s a better utilisation of land, and all of these factors combined have a positive benefit when you look at the impact of farming from a climate change perspective.

An ongoing AHDB Beef and Lamb project has been looking closely at the benefits of bringing grass (or mixed species leys) back into the arable rotation and grazing beef by bringing together farmers from the two different sectors.

The project is being carried out at Dyson Farming’s Norwood Farm in Somerset. The baseline assessments for soil quality characteristics, organic matter and soil biology before the ley was established have been repeated this year in order to

AHDB beef scientist, Rebecca Small explains: “The arrangement effectively enables the intensive arable enterprise to adopt ‘mixed farming,’ without investing in cattle and the beef enterprise, in order to expand without needing to invest in the land. “For beef producers, this represents an opportunity for new entrants to the beef industry or for enterprise expansion. For arable farmers, beef cattle may be able to achieve the same or higher net margin per hectare compared to traditional arable rotations, with the additional benefits of better weed control and improved soil condition resulting from the establishment of grass leys.”


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Beef cattle at Norwood Farm

characterise the improvements to soil quality. The project is split into three treatments, with cattle grazed across three fields with their performance recorded. An economic analysis of introducing beef cattle into the arable rotation will be carried out, including setting up rotational grazing and the infrastructure required for a successful collaboration. The final results of the project are due in March 2022.

Out on the farm A recent knowledge exchange event held at Norwood Farm demonstrated several different areas of the project to allow attendees to further understand the different

Industry News elements including soil health benefits, costs, practicality and environment schemes which are available. At Norwood, six fields were involved in this trial and were made up of a combination of grass/clover and mixed species leys.

Cost benefit analysis Mark Topliff, Lead Analyst from the Farm Economics team at AHDB kicked off the day with a run through of the data from the project which linked to financial rewards. When considering if setting up a beef system in an arable rotation is something you might want to investigate, there are costs that you will need to consider. Set-up costs Establishment of the ley Tillage (e.g. discing, drilling, rolling) Inputs (e.g. seeds, sprays, fertiliser) Infrastructure costs Fencing posts Fencing wire Electric fencing equipment Water troughs and pipes Handling system Labour Cattle production costs Variable costs Additional forage or supplementary concentrates Fertilisers or sprays Vet and medicines charges Overheads Labour Machinery/vehicles Electricity Water A cost benefit analysis was carried out as part of this project and looked at the margin for the beef enterprise. At Norwood the margin was calculated separately between the grass/clover and mixed species which was estimated to be £227 and £274 respectively. Although this may be lower than some cereal crops it is more than others and the wider benefits for the farm such as organic matter, drought resistance and weed management need to be taken into account. As part of the project a new ‘mix and match’ calculator has been produced and was demonstrated at the event. The calculator allows producers to consider the cost and margins of introducing beef cattle into the arable rotation. The calculator allows you to simply select the level of investment

associated with setting up livestock on farm and includes establishing grass leys, costs of rearing animals and infrastructure. It is worth noting that these costs are a guide and will vary regionally. This is available on the AHDB website: beef-in-the-arable-rotation-mix-and-matchcalculator

Monitoring soil health Lizzie Sagoo from ADAS and Tom Storr from Dyson Farming held a practical session showing how to monitor soil health. Baseline soil measurements were taken in the autumn of 2017 and repeat measurements taken in the autumn of 2020. These were taken to quantify the impact of grass and herbal leys on soil quality over the course of the project. Soil organic matter is key to soil quality. Following introduction of grass and mixed species leys and livestock to the rotation at Norwood, the repeat baseline tests showed the soil organic matter had increased by 6t/ ha in the top 15cm layer of soil. Another interesting result from this study was that earthworm numbers increased by an average of 60% in the grass fields between 2017 and 2020. Soil samples are a great tool to use to show the baseline and improvement of soil quality on your farm. Samples should be taken in the autumn or winter from same site and depth each time. There are different methods of analysis, the same one should be used each time to be able to show changes over time. Digging a hole to count earth worm numbers is also advised.

Benefits of grass/clover and herbal leys Helen Mathieu from Germinal explained the benefits of different herbal leys on the rotation. A clean seed bed after the arable rotation is best before planting a herbal ley for the livestock rotation. At Norwood the mixed

species leys performed marginally better than the grass/clover swards, achieving 14 days more grazing each year and £47 extra margin per hectare. The weather during the trial was very mixed and included drought and it is thought that the mixed species leys coped better. Whereas the cattle on the grass/clover swards required supplementary feeding and were removed from the ley sooner. When choosing the species to include in a mixed species ley depends on its required use and the spoil type. Multispecies work well due to the variety of plants – for example more varied rooting can help improve soil structure and organic matter.

Practicality of integrating livestock onto arable rotations The 200 head of Stabiliser and Angus suckler cows and their progeny at Norwood are owned by Dyson Farming, however, many systems work on a shared farming agreement. Farm Vet Rob Drysdale talked through the practical side of integrating livestock into arable rotations. His advice is to work together to create an arrangement that works for both sides and develop an understanding of who is responsible for what. A good working relationship and trust is essential, it is also a good idea to have a contract that maps out the agreement. Things to consider: •


Ley establishment

Animal feeding and general welfare

Payments and finances

Term of agreement

Utilising environment schemes Ian Willoughby from Dyson Farming talked through utilising environment schemes. Looking at AB15 mix in arable rotations, GS4 in the livestock rotation and a wild bird cover, Ian explained about some of the specific measures which were needed to fulfil the scheme’s requirements. The Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme which will be introduced in spring 2022, will pay farmers to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way. The scheme is made up from a set of standards. Each standard is based on a feature like hedgerows or grassland and contains a group of actions you need to follow. More information is set to be available over the coming months.

Helen Mathieu from Germinal

AHDB’s Livestock in the arable rotation guide provides tips and guidance on setting up a similar system. If you would like to order a hard copy, please contact or call: 0247 799 0069.

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Farmplan: Cattle Manager Go app allows precise herd management without requiring signal Farmplan, the UK’s leading agricultural software specialists, has released its long-awaited Cattle Manager Go app for smartphones and tablets, allowing Cattle Manager users to access records and make notes on the farm, even without signal. The app is set to release for iOS and Android in October.


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021



attle Manager Go is designed to support users out on the farm,” says Sally Ashwell, Development Support Manager at Farmplan. “It’s the perfect extension of Cattle Manager, helping you to improve profitability and manage your herd accurately and effectively.” Farmers across the UK trust Cattle Manager as a tool that enables compliance and quality assurance for their herds. The new app permits sharing of data between Cattle Manager and Cattle Manager Go via the cloud. Users can choose from a long list of useful information in the desktop program and seamlessly synchronise it to their smart device. “You can send every animal if you prefer or sort by batches and breeds,” says Sally. “You can also select predefined actions like drug treatments, movements, anything to do with health. Essentially, you have access to as much or as little information as suits you.” Once the straightforward download process is complete, your smartphone or tablet can be used out on the farm – even without mobile signal or Wi-Fi. Details for each cow, including ID, age, breed, category, and purchase history can all be pulled up with a tap, along with any medical treatments.

Each cow record also lets you quickly tap through to any next of kin still on the farm. “You can also record data in addition to accessing it,” says Sally. “New births can be entered, along with their tag numbers, sex, and other crucial details. Any actions that have been put against particular animals are presented as a list on your device, so you can enter diary notes as needed.”

“For example, you can tick off animals as they are moved or pre-set to specify particular drug treatments and dosage levels. Withdrawal periods are also at hand. You can always be sure everything is in order without needing to be in the office – or even in range of signal.”

Once the user is back within signal range, all data is uploaded to the cloud and synced with your desktop. Each action is shown on screen with the option to make edits before saving. Multiple users can all work simultaneously without issue – all incoming data is verified to check that information remains current and correct, alerting the user if something doesn’t align. “Cattle Manager customers have been requesting an app for a long time,” adds Sally. “Cattle Manager Go is the answer, putting all the information you need at hand on the farm. In addition to saving time and making your life easier, the app helps ensure accurate and timely reporting. It’s the power of Cattle Manager in the palm of your hand.” With Farmplan’s continued commitment to invest in its livestock programs, another important development has been released to customers. From 4th October 2021 cattle birth, death and movement notifications in Scotland should be submitted through ScotMoves instead of BCMS. Farmplan has been working hard behind the scenes to facilitate this, making the process as straightforward as possible for customers. Cattle Manager Go will be available for iOS and Android in October. Visit www.farmplan. to learn more.

Cattle Manager Go App

Access and record your herd information from anywhere on your farm Need to manage and control your cattle farm on the go? With the new Cattle Manager Go App from Farmplan, you can!

View animal records Enter diary actions and births Input and record essential data

Download today from the App store*, call us on 01594 545000 or visit *Available with Cattle Manager or Livestock Manager software.

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Farming Hero

#Run1000 Sheena Horner - A wee idea that I had one day that just grew and grew but how did it all start?


got back into running in January 2020 (after a good 20 plus years of no running) through a local ParkRun being set up, but then of course the pandemic stopped all these events. I was determined to continue running as it had taken me so long to get back into it and I really didn’t want to stop. So, I started running a few times a week on my own and it was then that I realised that running is not just about your physical health but also your mental health! It was a time when I was also spending a lot of time on my own for weeks at a time as my husband is a lorry driver and therefore a key worker who seemed to be working nonstop, I’d be lucky if he was home twice in a month. Getting out, seeing and admiring my surroundings and the feeling of euphoria when I got back in from my run really did make me feel better within myself. It was on one of these runs that I got thinking about rural mental health which was something that I had never really considered or thought about until I went to see Doug Avery when he did his tour of Scotland in 2018. Then I heard him just a short time later on Will Evans Rock and Roll Farming podcast and it really made an impact. I then started thinking about all those fantastic charities that support rural mental health but weren’t receiving the funding that they normally would do, due to the pandemic.


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Sheena - scotland captain

But what could be done to raise awareness of running and/or walking and the benefits it has on you while raising funds for the charities? So, I messaged some friends, organised a chat with the CEO of RSABI and after a bit of discussion, #Run1000 began to take shape.

Farming Hero

Pictured above - Colin Dargie - team scotland Pictured left - Emma and Sheena with flags

The idea was that Run1000 would pitch five nations (England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and The Rest of the World) in a friendly competition, taking place throughout January which is probably one of the most difficult months for us all and usually the quietest in the farming calendar! The initiative would see which team could cover the furthest distance throughout the month by walking and/or running. Finally, there was a team captain to lead each nation, while encouraging others to join up and compete for their country. It was decided to call the event Run 1000 as I thought 1000 miles would be a good challenge and distance for the teams to achieve. How wrong was I? Both Team England and Team Wales achieved 1000 miles within 24 hours but hey what an achievement by them both and the title is staying! My expectations weren’t high, I was happy to raise a few thousand pounds for each charity and get a few people taking part. What I really wanted was to highlight rural mental health and the effect it has on our communities. Get people to talk about it, share their experiences and help others. What I didn’t expect was for just over 1,200 participants taking part, for us to collectively cover 64,785 miles (to put into context this distance would circumnavigate the world two and a half times) and to raise an

astonishing £51,545. Even as I type these words, I still am amazed nearly a year later of the success that it was.

make it easier for the captains to keep track as there was an awful lot of manual counting and late nights last January.

The time that people gave to help was also fantastic, from our five team captains and the vice captains to Jane Craigie Marketing who kindly sent out Press Releases for us and were always there with help and advice. Then there were the companies that offered to sponsor and give support. But the best part had to be the camaraderie on the private Strava groups (which each team had) and the light humoured banter on social media. The rural community really came together to take part and it would never have been such a great success if it wasn’t for each and every one who took part.

So go on, why not join us in 2022? Whether you run 1 mile or 10, walk for 10 minutes or 1 hour, Run1000 is flexible and open to all levels of fitness and experience:

So, what now? Well, the event was always meant to be a one off but yet here I am in the midst of encouraging people to yet again get their trainers on and take part in #Run1000 2022. Both Emma Picton Jones and Pete Hynes were happy to do it all over again with me and of course Emma wants to retain her title of winning captain! And we are delighted that Rich Heady and Sam Owen have joined us. We have a new team with New Zealand replacing the Rest of the World, we have the two new captains and have selected to help eight charities in 2022, including a Vet and a Gamekeeper charity. We are using a new platform this year which we hope will

“If you enjoy running or walking and want to support and raise awareness of rural mental health why not sign up to your team and help banish those January blues! It’s not about the distance you can cover but about taking part and most importantly raising awareness of rural mental health.”

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


NBA Regional Round-ups

REGIONAL COUNCIL CONTACTS NORTHERN William Walton - Chairman Northumberland, NE47 Email:

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

WALES Contact Head Office Tel: 01434 601005

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

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



NBA Regional

s p u d Roun

Scottish Beef Association As we head into the winter months and the end of 2021 we can reflect on a year of challenges in Scottish agriculture. Policy officials in Scottish Government gave a pre COP26 announcement that £51m would be committed to the Scottish agriculture sector over the next 3 years to continue the work already started on many farms to reduce emissions. However, as seems the norm for the Scottish Government these days, the detail was limited and we await further information to work out what it means for the Scottish beef sector. Livestock farming was recently in the sights of environmentalists once again. This time at COP26 hosted in Glasgow. Methane reductions of the order of 30% were agreed as part of the ‘deal’ with cattle clearly labelled as a ‘problem’. Once again, the Scottish system of beef production was largely ignored as a force for good in the fight against climate change so we all need to continue to positively promote ourselves and our industry in this regard. With that in mind the SBA contributed to the ‘Putting our Steak in the Ground’ document produced by Quality Meat Scotland and the Red Meat Resilience Group that they organise. This piece of work lays out the Group’s vision as for tackling climate change. All our members need to play a part in getting to Net Zero whilst continuing to produce high quality, nutritious protein for our growing population. The publication can be found at Steak in the Ground on the QMS website. Whilst that report is a positive move towards tackling climate changes and the challenges

The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

that may bring we also need to ensure that beef farming remains a profitable activity. Prices have been, in historic terms, very good over the last year, however we do have some issues to be concerned about as we all look to build more resilient and profitable businesses. We continue to see cost inflation on farm and as cattle are housed for winter there is no doubt that every penny of the 2021 gain in prices will be needed to feed and bed these animals until turnout. Indeed, we need to see the beef price continue to rise to reflect the additional winter costs that will be incurred. If we look to the milk market as a comparison we continue to see milk companies pushing prices well into the mid 30 pence territory and approaching if not exceeding record highs – we would call on the beef market to follow that example into 2022. Unfortunately, we have also lost our normal Scotch premium over recent months. Scottish R4L steers are currently trading on a par with the GB average and at just over 3p/kg below North of England steers. Whilst QMS have really improved their marketing of our product over the last few years, it is a blow to producers that the Scotch premium has been eroded and we look forward to our marketeers at QMS working hard to recover the position and rediscover that premium for Scotch assured producers. Finally, we would like to wish all SBA members a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Neil Wilson

NBA Regional Round-ups

Northern Ireland 2021 has concluded with dry, mild conditions allowing slurry to be spread and winter cereals drilled. Growing conditions have remained steady until recently with, on my own farm, cows and calves grazing to the end of November with little silage required. It has been positive that beef prices remain steady from early August, breaking the £4 barrier recently from some processors. Store cattle trade has also remained strong over this period. As with all other industries, input costs have risen significantly with concentrates and fertilizer prices reaching worrying levels. It has highlighted the need, now more than ever, to make the most from grazed grass

and forages as well as utilizing slurry more effectively. Importing digestate is now being considered with an increase in AD plants making this attractive.

Farmers Union has stated that it could be the “ruination of farming here in N.I” with severe consequences to the wider agri-food industry.

Post COP26, it seems as expected, methane and ruminant livestock are in the firing line for environmental legislation and lobbying groups. Utilizing alternative farm management techniques, feed additives and genetics seem to be able to offer possible reductions in emissions. A positive step for our industry to be pro-active.

Looking to the future, there could possibly be a lucrative market for carbon, to assist industries offset their carbon emissions. However, the ‘wild west’ of trading and regulation needs taming!

A private members’ bill currently going through our devolved government in Stormont is worrying farmers, targeting livestock numbers substantially. The Ulster

Wishing all our members a productive, safe and healthy Christmas and New Year in 2022. Stephen Heenan.

South West Since my last report we have held a successful Agrifest South West at Devon County Showground. Full classes of fatstockers were crowned by Daryl Cheacker’s Champion, being a Limousin steer from Dickie Wright, which was ably shown by Paul Walker. The pedigree calf section was won by Mike & Mel Alford with their Limousin bull Foxhill Farm Sportsman. Mike and Mel also took Reserve Champion with their new future Angus stock bull Oakmoor Kingston. The all breeds young Bull of the Year Competition was won by Penfound Royal Nairn, a Charolais from Roger Hopper. The South Devon Herd Book Society Performance Championship was won by Douglas Scott with Grove Brutus, who also took the Reserve award with Grove Cherry. Neil Shand was in attendance along with our association Chairman Andrew Laughton. Neil spoke at one of our seminars and both Neil and Andrew attended our pre-show dinner at which Paul Westaway spoke. During the day a farm visit took place at Hill Barton, courtesy of Roy and Troy Stuart, when attendees were shown around their exceptional beef unit. Next year Agrifest South West will be on December 7th, which after this year’s success is anticipated to be bigger again. With my AHDB Beef and Lamb Board hat on, please register to have your say on how your levy is spent. Registration to vote will open soon and once registered, in the Spring you will be able to vote on how you would like the AHDB Beef and Lamb Board levy to be spent. The Board is changing into a Council and we will take into account how levy payers have voted when setting

future work streams for the AHDB executive. So, if you want more of your levy spent on domestic marketing, export promotion, market intelligence, research into the environment or any of the other options that will be put before you, please ensure you register so you are able to have your say.

A personal view now and one which may be controversial. I believe that Red Tractor is failing our industry. It was originally proposed so that one form of assurance would cover all outlets. This is now not the case as over recent years retailers have developed their own assurance requirements, which now have to be complied with over and above the Red Tractor standards. Red Tractor to maintain credibility needs to cover a critical mass of beef producers. Red Tractor currently assures 25% of all English beef farmers, which by any reasonable KPI

is insufficient. Red Tractor assures all stock which are slaughtered and enter into the supermarket chains but the requirement is only for the last 90 days of production to be covered. In the ideal world Red Tractor assurance would cover the lifetime of the animal but as more farmers are leaving Red Tractor than joining this is ever further away. The only way Red Tractor will ever achieve lifetime assurance is if they set their standards at a level that all reasonable beef producers are comfortable with and prepared to sign up to. Red Tractor I feel are at a crossroads. Listen to the producers and administer standards that the large majority of producers are prepared to take up for the lifetime of the animal or continue to crank up requirements in an attempt to satisfy retailers and face reduced membership and dubious credibility. We need an assurance scheme which helps us as UK producers to highlight our standards over and above beef which might be imported from Countries with much reduced or low standards. However, we need assurance which is risk appropriate to every level of the supply chain and if that means having different standards for different stages of the production cycle, Red Tractor are going to have to change their dogmatic one size fits all approach. I would be very interested to know members views on Red Tractor and please do not hesitate to email me at or call me at Sedgemoor Market on 01278 410278. All the best. Rob Venner

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Guest Vet | Sarah Tomlinson

t e V t s e Gu Sarah Tomlinson

Challenges affecting the farm veterinary profession


armers Weekly recently carried out a survey of 400 farmers and 426 vets to find out the challenges affecting the farm veterinary profession and to seek answers on how it can be improved. Here our my personal views on some of their findings. I am really lucky; I love my job and I work with some amazing farmers and I am proud to be part of the agricultural industry in the UK. Unfortunately, more and more farm vets do not feel the same and my profession is suffering from the same issues affecting farming with recruitment and retention of skilled personnel. The average length of a career for a veterinary surgeon after spending 5 years (sometimes more) at university, is just 7 years. I think we can all agree that veterinary medicine has changed considerably since James Herriot’s time and the shear volume of knowledge vets have to have along side other skills such as data analyst, social scientist and even counsellor, are overwhelming. Farm practices are under the same pressures as all rural services, bigger workloads with less staff to cover it. Attracting good vets to work in farm clinics is getting harder and harder. Houses are expensive in rural locations and the demise of local amenities, along-side smaller salaries compared to small animal work, despite longer hours and busy on call rotas, are just some of the reasons graduates are not joining farm practices. Thankfully those vets who do, soon find themselves in amazing communities. I like being bought a cuppa in the local mart and the farmer recalling the successful caesarean I carried out. Being able to walk my dog at lunchtime in the


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beautiful Derbyshire Dales. Building close relationships with farmers gave 61% of vets in the survey the greatest job satisfaction.

The shortage of farm vets is being felt by farmers, but it varies regionally with 26% of farmers in the South and 47% in East Anglia and the Midlands claiming the number of practices in their area had reduced significantly. Thankfully the survey showed 9/10 farmer respondents said they trusted their vet, 7/8 were satisfied with their current practice. Vets often have a really privileged position often knowing personal as well as financial details of a farm not just those of their cows. I think the survey shows the important role vets have in the farm team. As a vet that’s really great feedback.

Closer to my heart were the issues around TB testing and 66% saying it was an “unfulfilling” part of the job. 79% said delivering bad news about reactors had a negative effect on them, and a further 58% said they felt anxious the day of reading results. Not surprisingly 84% of farmers said it filled them with dread or was stressful too. I have spoken out a lot about the mental health impacts TB has on farmers, but we should also remember the impacts on vets. We are in the job to improve health and welfare and productivity for our clients not condemn otherwise heathy cattle and shut down businesses. As the survey showed 61% of vets really value the relationship they have with farmers. The conclusion from this for me is if you have a good vet you trust and respect, make sure you tell them, champion the success you have as a farm team together, it might just mean you get to keep that great vet a little while longer.

The National Beef Association




WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


In My Opinion | Jude Capper

r e t i r W t Gues Dr Jude L. Capper

Livestock Sustainability Consultancy, Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK

It’s not enough to be green - we have to prove it!


here are as many definitions of sustainable beef as there are consumers in the UK. To some it conjures visions of organic, smallscale systems using native breeds; to others it means improving efficiency through large-scale, intensive production. Whatever the focus, sustainability issues are here to stay and carbon footprints have become the primary focus of many discussions. The widespread media coverage of climate change during COP26 mean that the heat has been turned up on livestock producers, with beef production often cited as being environmentally damaging, albeit this claim is often based on global averages in the misguided belief that all beef systems are equal. Although we can point to the fact that UK beef producers are amongst the most efficient in the world, with greenhouse gas emissions 60% lower than


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the global average1, there is an urgent need to measure, benchmark and improve the carbon footprint of every beef operation in the UK to demonstrate, highlight and communicate our dedication to improving environmental sustainability. Dedication is relatively easy: we want to reduce the carbon footprint of beef production– we just need to know how to do so. The simple (although not sexy) answer is to do everything better. No farm is perfect – there are always ways to improve, to meet industry key performance indicators and to exceed the targets that we set ourselves. If we examine every facet of our production systems to ensure that we take the very best care of cattle; meet their nutritional needs; protect them from inclement weather; address health issues promptly with appropriate use of veterinary medicines;

manage pastures well; and make the best use of home-grown and by-product feeds; we can improve production and reduce carbon footprints. Being able to measure and benchmark carbon footprints is key to demonstrating this dedication – if we don’t know where we start, it’s impossible to evaluate the progress made over time. However, at present, there’s no industry standard carbon footprint tool for use on UK beef farms. This is a huge issue, as it means that there’s no way to ascertain whether the fact that Farm A’s carbon footprint is cited as being lower than Farm B’s is a true result, or is due to different footprinting tools, different

Jude Capper | In My Opinion

levels of data entry (counting every last piece of baler twine or putting in the bare minimum), or simply the fact that, this year, Farm B faced some serious weather challenges that changed crop, pasture or animal performance. With many processors and retailers needing to quantify the carbon footprints associated with their supply chain, undertaking carbon assessments is going to be an essential part of market regulations in future, yet a level playing field is required to ensure fair comparisons. Various commercial footprinting tools (e.g. Agrecalc, Farm Carbon Toolkit, Cool Farm Tool, etc) exist to evaluate both your current farm carbon footprint and the effects of making management changes – it’s worth putting your data into several different tools to see the how they differ as they all have different structures, equations and levels of detail, which will lead to different results. It’s crucial that they are all fit for purpose and have sufficient animal detail to be able to identify and quantify differences between beef operations however, which is not always the case for all tools. For example, simply entering the number of head of cattle present on the farm gives a crude estimate of the carbon footprint, yet without referring to liveweights, growth rates, mortality, feed types, forage characteristics, days at pasture, etc, there is no way to make

accurate evidence-based decisions. We also still have some gaps within the science, with few research studies quantifying the impacts of cattle disease on carbon footprints. For example, until animal health metrics are an integral component of footprinting tools, it’s going to be difficult to identify the full range of improvement opportunities. Sequestering carbon into soil is an extremely valuable mitigation measure associated with well-managed pasture. However, building appreciable changes in soil carbon takes years, not days, therefore we need to be able to show that changes in pasture management have positive effects in the short- as well as long-term. Accurate assessments of the potential to sequester carbon into soils are essential in any carbon footprinting tool used on beef farms, yet, again, the capacity to do these calculations varies considerably between tools. If we are going to claim carbon neutrality, or, more significantly, being a carbon sink that other industries can invest in to offset their emissions, this must be backed by sound science. The need to incorporate the most current and accurate science into carbon footprinting tools also means reporting results in the new metric known as GWP* (global warming potential*) in addition to the traditional GWP100. GWP* accounts for methane degrading in the atmosphere over

time and therefore has the potential to shed a favourable light onto the carbon footprint of beef production. However, to date, it hasn’t been included in every carbon tool, leading to significant variation in results. Ultimately however, our biggest challenge may not relate to the technical details of calculating carbon footprints, but communicating improvements to processors, retailers, policy-makers and consumers. We can help people outside agriculture to understand and value our environmental improvements if we are prepared to communicate better and more often, whether it’s in-person, in reports and press articles, or on social media. True sustainability, both now and in the future, will depend on environmental dedication, demonstration and communication – only then can we show that our true colours…are green. Opio, C., P. Gerber, T. Vellinga, M. MacLeod, A. Falcucci, B. Henderson, A. Mottet, G. Tempio, and H. Steinfeld. 2013. Greenhouse gas emissions from ruminant supply chains: a global life cycle assessment. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy. 1

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



WEIGHING DRIVES EFFICIENCIES A Gallagher TWR1 weighing system, won in a competition run in the NBA magazine, is proving a success on the Cumbrian dairy and beef farm of Chris Addison.


hris is no newcomer to weighing cattle, having been regularly weighing animals for several years on his organic farm. “Weighing is an important part of our beef and dairy systems, allowing us to manage the enterprises more effectively.” Chris farms 570 acres Kings Meaburn near Penrith where the main enterprise is a herd of 160 Montbeliarde dairy cows and 70 dairy followers with milk sold to OMSCO. Most beef cross calves from the dairy herd are finished on farm along with any Montbeliarde bull calves, with the rest sold as stores to Peter Jones Livestock, Carlisle and Hexham Auctions. He is also a member of Warrendale Wagyu, with a proportion of claves produced for the scheme. The farm is BVD and Johnes accredited. He also has a pedigree suckler herd with 15 Simmental and 5 Angus cows. He sells


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pedigree Simmental bulls with Angus bulls sold to local dairy farms. Heifers are kept as replacements. Dairy cows are crossed to Aberdeen Angus because he wants an easy calving with less stress on the cow. The cattle are taken to 20-22 months, with around 10-15 sold every two weeks from December through to June. Chris is looking to get liveweight gains of around 1kg/day while cows are at grass. During the winter they are fed a diet comprising silage along with home grown barley and organic protein and are targeted to gain at 1.2kg/day. “We are looking to sell Angus cross bullocks at 300kg deadweight and heifers at 280kg deadweight. Montbeliarde bullocks will be closer to 350kg deadweight. “We sell at least prime 60 cattle a year to ABP and others to a butcher in Wigan who is happy to take larger animals.

“Hitting specification is incredibly important as we can lose 30p/kg deadweight if cattle are over specification, so we are committed to regular weighing of cattle.” He began weighing cattle eight years ago and stepped up the frequency four years ago when he started selling to ABP. When at grass cattle are weighed at turnout and again at housing, but once housed they are weighed every six weeks.

Feature “This means we can identify how far animals are off finishing and if any are getting too fat too soon. We can then fine-tune the diet accordingly. ABP need to know when we are going to send animals and weighing allows us to predict this more accurately. “By combining the liveweight gain information with the conformation feedback we get from ABP we get a total picture on how the cattle are performing. This will allow us to work better with our customer, which is something that is becoming more important.” Chris also weighs the suckler cattle four times a year for performance testing. More recently he has started weighing dairy replacements as he works to bring age at first calving down. “We want to get to twoyear calving as this will reduce total rearing costs and contribute towards reducing our carbon footprint.” Chris says he has found the TWR1 easy to use and says it is a robust system. He is now planning how best to use the functionality of the TWR1 to extend the use of weighing data on the farm. Jane Hadley, Central and Northern England Account Manager with Gallagher says the TWR 1 is the only system on the market with an integrated EID reader, opening up the opportunity to go hands free, making recording data completely automated and allowing EID reading and weighing to be a one-person job. “The TWR 1 also features touch screen technology allowing quick and easy navigation through the system while the Daylight readable colour LCD means there is no more struggling to read the screen. The large seven-inch scratch-proof display provides ample room to show all the key information.

Chris Addison with Jane Hadley from Gallagher

“With full Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB connectivity options it is straightforward to draw several sources of management information together. At any time, the user can view individual weight gain graphs and weight distribution plots per group instantaneously to identify if animals are on target.”

Chris says that one of the next steps is to move to the full EID system and expects it will make a big difference, removing the need for manual recording of weights and the time taken to work through the results. “Increased automation will save time and labour and mean more people can carry out the weighing. I am a firm believer that if something is easy to do then it tends to get done. “Once we have an EID system we can look to add other management information to the weight data such as disease records. One way we could look to use this is in sire selection.” Currently the TWR1 is sited at the main buildings but Chris has used a grant to help fund a second cattle handling system at the satellite buildings where cattle are fattened. He plans to improve Wi-Fi access and then look to move the reader and scales between the two handing facilities, giving the option to weigh cattle more frequently to improve the data available to manage the efficiency of finishing.

The TWR1 was easy to install WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Industry News | Food Crime unit

The National Food Crime Unit T

he National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) is a dedicated law enforcement function of the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The unit provides leadership on food crime across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The unit works closely with the Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit within Food Standards Scotland. The NFCU was established in 2015 following a review of the 2013 horse meat incident. The NFCU is tasked with protecting consumers and the food industry from food crime within food supply chains. The NFCU works with the food industry to ensure that food is safe and what it says it is. More information on the NFCU can be found on the FSA website.

What is Food Crime? Food crime more often referred to as food fraud can be defined as serious fraud and related criminality in food supply chains. It can be extremely harmful to consumers, food businesses and the wider food industry. Food crime can occur in various ways. It can range from isolated acts of dishonesty by individual offenders to organised illegal activity co-ordinated by criminal networks. The National Food Crime Unit focusses its work on 7 different types of food crime: adulteration, substitution, theft, misrepresentation, illegal processing, waste diversion and document fraud. More information on the 7 types of food crime can be found on the FSA website.


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Why do I need to worry about food crime? In the red meat sector, food crime can include the mislabeling of meat to incorrectly show the country of origin; the extension of use by dates; illegal slaughter; or document fraud to misrepresent the movement of an animal. These food crimes could result in financial loss to organisations and consumers as they pay a premium for a misrepresented product, it could also present a safety risk to consumers in the case of extending use by dates. Food crime also carries the risk of reputational damage to a brand.

What should I be doing about it? Initially it is always good to think about what you already have in place to protect your business from the risk of food crime. Earlier this year the NFCU launched its Food Fraud Resilience Self-Assessment Tool. This was designed to support food businesses in identifying the risk to their business from food crime, and outline steps that they can take to mitigate those risks. The tool can be found on the main FSA website. Put food crime on your agenda! Just like food safety and health and safety, the risk posed by food crime should always be something that you are considering in the day to day running of your business.

There are certain things that you need to look out for to protect your business from food crime. For example, are your suppliers selling stock well under market value or failing to provide full traceability records? Have you been offered or received products which do not match their description or make you question the validity of their accreditation or quality claims? If you think you have encountered any instances of food crime, please report it to the NFCU.

How can I report incidents of food crime? There are a few different ways that you to let the NFCU know about incidents of food crime. Food Crime Confidential: 020 7276 8787 Email: Online confidential reporting tool: Report a food crime If you want to know more about food crime and what you can do to reduce the risk to your business get in touch. You can contact the unit’s Prevention team at: NFCU.




has our farm st Cows the happierld! in the wo

The sequential use of identical PI3 and RSV antigens in live and killed presentations, called a PRIME-BOOST effect, can optimise the immune response to two of the key viral pathogens associated with bovine respiratory disease (BRD).


BOVALTO® is the ONLY BRD VACCINE RANGE which provides ALL of these benefits: Efficacy proven by challenge studies1

Intranasal efficacy against BRSV and PI3 unaffected by MDAs, providing the optimal start to immune protection against BRD2

A duration of immunity proven by challenge: 12 weeks for BOVALTO Respi Intranasal2 6 months for BOVALTO Respi injectables


A PRIME-BOOST capability: Developed to enable sequential use of identical PI3 and RSV antigens in different forms for rapid, robust immunity3,4

References: 1. Philippe-Reversat et al. (2017) Acta Vet BRNO. 86: 325–332 2. Metcalfe et al. (2020) Vet Record Open 7: e000429 3. Ellis et al. (2018) Can Vet J. 59: 1311–1319 4. Metcalfe et al. (2019) Poster presented at EBC, Den Bosch, Sept 19 Bovalto® Respi Intranasal, nasal spray, lyophilisate and solvent for suspension contains Bovine parainfluenza 3 virus (PI3V), modified live virus, strain Bio 23/A 105.0 – 107.5 TCID50 and Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), modified live virus, strain Bio 24/A 104.0 – 106.0 TCID50. Bovalto® Respi 3 Suspension for Injection and Bovalto® Respi 4 Suspension for injection contain inactivated bovine respiratory syncytial virus, strain BIO-24, inactivated bovine parainfluenza 3 virus, strain BIO23 and inactivated Mannheimia haemolytica, serotype A1 strain DSM 5283. Bovalto® Respi 4 also

contains inactivated bovine viral diarrhoea virus, strain BIO-25. UK: POM-V IE: POM (E). Advice should be sought from the prescriber. Further information available in the SPCs or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd, RG12 8YS, UK. UK Tel: 01344 746957, IE Tel: 01 291 3985. Email: Bovalto® is a registered trademark of the Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health France, used under licence. ©2021 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: Oct 2021. BOV-0178-2021. Use Medicines Responsibly.

Guest Auctioneer | Alastair Sneddon

Guest r ee n o i t c Au Alastair Sneddon MRICS FAAV FLAA

Auctioneers and farmers can consider themselves fortunate to be emerging from the Pandemic in a far better state than others.


n fact, to use a phrase coined by Harold Macmillan, the British Prime Minister in 1957, “most of our people have never had it so good.”

Of course, he was not talking about the beef industry, but it is certainly applicable at the present time. Farmers and auctioneers are quick to adapt in times of change and when the green light came from Defra for markets to stay open during the emergency, everyone was keen to make it work and it did.

“Drop and Go” will be a Pandemic phrase consigned to the history books, but it allowed markets to stay open, ensured Fair Play and maintained the structure of trade. Can you imagine what would have happened if markets had had to close? It has happened before during Foot and Mouth and many will recall what happened in those times.


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Alastair Sneddon | Guest Auctioneer With regard to the current state of the cattle trade, market records have been broken and 300p /live kilo and £2,000 per head have become regular occurrences. Figures which we have only ever seen before at Christmas Primestock shows. On the back of this short finish store cattle regularly make £1,400 to £1,500 with younger stock priced accordingly. There are concerns about the rising cost of feed, fuel and fertiliser which may eventually put a brake on store prices. Tb is an issue in our part of the world and the second year of badger culling has just been completed in Derbyshire. You may recall the delay of 12 months as a consequence of interference in high places. Needless to say, we are still finding sufficient cattle for periodic “Orange” sales of restricted stock. I have heard anecdotal evidence from the South West, where culling has been going on much longer that there is now little demand for such sales because the number of holdings under restriction has reduced substantially. Perhaps someone from those parts could confirm or correct me on that point. Native breeds and the grass-fed beef movement continue to gain popularity. Angus and Herefords remain in strong demand amongst specialist store buyers,

Earlier this year Defra released a consultation on animal transport, the content of which attracted considerable ridicule and did their reputation no good whatsoever.

we have seen many more Longhorns in the market lately and even a few Albion cattle. So, what is on the horizon that we should be thinking about? The Environment and Climate Change are top of everybody’s agenda and the British Beef industry needs to fight hard to avoid being bracketed in with the way beef is produced in the USA and South America.

The worrying thing is that someone in authority was happy to issue it in the first place. Now that we are no longer EU members, you might think that Westminster would be more supportive of British Farmers especially with a Tory government, however, modern day Conservatives are not as well linked to the Countryside as their tweedier predecessors were and many seem to have fallen prey to influencers intent on turning us all into herbivores.

Failure to do this will turn us into public enemies and reduce demand for our product.

Animal Welfare is another topic of which we should all be aware. We must all strive for the highest standards, but we also need to recognise what is reasonable and practicable.

One final thought concerns the need for lower stress cattle handling, which benefits both man and beast. There is a much greater understanding of animal and human behaviour than was the case in the past. Cattle see themselves as prey animals and they see us as predators and react accordingly. By using this knowledge, we can do things better and we need to, because our industry will come under ever greater scrutiny and any adverse publicity will merely play into the hands of those who seek to damage it.

The British Limousin Cattle Society Succeeds in all beef systems 02476 696500

Efficient, fast growth rates

Consistently top in market Great fertility and longevity Consistently top of the trade Excellent conformation

1/2 Page Landscape 190 x 134mm

Limousin - the breed with the premium built in WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



UK Sourced Protein Options

Feeding strategies key to optimise margins Beef producers look set to continue to benefit from high demand and strong prices, but environmental and market challenges are driving the need to implement feeding strategies to optimise margins this winter.


HDB report that prices have remained strong over the last few months with a tightness in cattle numbers coming for slaughter compared to last year, as predicted in their Agri Market outlook (July 2021). For the year until September 2021, a total of 667,000 tons of beef was produced in the UK, 4% lower than the same period in 2020.

need to be considered. Finding a British produced protein source will also be attractive, considering the environmental implications of imported soya. “Ration energy density and dry matter intake (DMI) are the critical factors determining cattle energy intakes, growth and fat deposition,” states KW Feeds nutritionist Dr Anna Sutcliffe. “Balanced with the correct amount of protein, the result is faster finishing, requiring less feed and producing greater margins per head.” One factor often overlooked is the considerable difference between continental and native breeds, in the nutrients required for effective finishing (table 1). Table 1 - Ration nutrient specifications for effective beef finishing Native breeds

Sourced from AHDB However, amidst a backdrop of market challenges, specifically around protein availability and pricing, it will be imperative to implement feeding strategies this winter, in order to optimise margins. There have been large fluctuations in both soya and rape markets over the past few months, with rape now at an all-time high. The urea market is very tight with a 100% increase in price over the two months up to the end of November. For producers currently finishing cattle on barley beef systems, which rely on some form of urea concentrate, other protein sources


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Continental breeds

Dry matter intake 2.0% of bodyweight

2.0% of bodyweight

Crude protein




11.5-12.0 MJ/Kg DM >12.0 MJ/Kg DM







Another critical factor is the balance between starch and protein. Native breeds and heifers are earlier maturing and start laying down fat sooner, so need a higher level of protein and less starch to meet target specification. But even continental cattle need more protein than many realise, typically 13-14% of the ration dry matter. Research carried out by Harper Adams University, using continental-cross-Holstein bulls, found that increasing the ration crude protein from 12 to 14% improved both feed efficiency and growth rate. The result was a six-day reduction in finishing times and a £32/head lift in margin over feed, at the time of the trial.

Feature Knowing that protein is important to finish time and profitability, British co-products are a good option this winter and can be supplied in various forms; liquid, moist or dry feed to suit all systems.

Liquid Feed Distillery syrups could be the perfect solution for beef farmers looking for a cost-effective protein feed, whilst promoting dry matter intakes. Produced as by-products of the whisky brewing or biofuel process, these high protein and energy dense liquid feeds are the ideal complement to the low protein forages (straw, maize, big bale silage) and cereals commonly used in grower and finisher diets. “For example, Potale syrup (spey syrup, a co-product from the Scottish Whiskey industry) analyses around 30-32% protein whilst the wheat syrup, a co-product of ethanol production, Sedalcol, has a crude protein level of around 23%,” explains Dr Sutcliffe. “At around 14-14.5ME, distillery syrups also provide an effective means of upping the energy density of the diet. This is especially important in finishing rations where you are trying to encourage the deposition of fat on the carcass,” she adds. In general, distillery syrups offer the potential to cut protein costs considerably. Liquid feeds also bring additional benefits associated with improved ration palatability. As a result, producers typically see an average 0.5kg/head/day uptake in dry matter intakes upon introducing them to diets. “The fact the liquid helps stick smaller feed particles to the forage also reduces ration sorting and hence aids rumen health. Overall, feeding in such a way could help improve efficiencies, whether on intensive or extensive beef systems,” says Dr Sutcliffe.

Dry option For those who do not have the facilities to manage a moist or liquid feed on farm, a dual-purpose feed like wheat distillers is an excellent option to raise ration energy density, whilst also increasing protein content. British Wheat Distillers, available in early 2022, is a palatable, high energy and protein feed, rich in digestible fibre, low in starch and providing a good source of bypass protein. Sourced from the Vivergo bio-refinery in Yorkshire, it provides a sustainable alternative to soya. The high levels of digestible fibre will be ideal to balance the predominantly starch-based diets fed on most intensive finishing systems, also helping reduce the risk of acidosis. On top of that the distillers contain yeast fragments left over from the fermentation process. These fragments have been shown to have a beneficial effect on rumen acid production and microbial protein yield, both of which are linked to improved rumen health, feed conversion efficiency and production. Studies in the United States and Canada have shown that beef grower and finisher rations can benefit from inclusion of bioethanol wheat distillers’ feeds at rates of up to 40% inclusion (freshweight basis) to achieve target growth rates, and specified carcase and fatness scores. Table 2 - British Wheat Distillers typical feeding rates you? British Wheat Distillers Growing beef

Up to 3.0kg/hd/day (at up to 40% of DMI*)

Finishing beef

Up to 5.0kg/hd/day (at up to 40% of DMI*)

Suckler cows


* DMI = dry matter intake.

Moist feed option C*Traffordgold is a 50% dry matter, high energy (13.4MJ ME/kg DM), mid-protein (20% CP) cereal-gluten moist feed that contains high levels of digestible fibre, is highly palatable and often offers better value than equivalent dry feeds. Like most moist co-product feeds, the energy comes mostly from digestible fibre. “Achieving consistently high intakes is essential for efficient growing and finishing,” Dr Sutcliffe continues. “Moist feeds are highly palatable, cut ration dust levels and reduce ration sorting, all of which improve both the level and consistency of intake. “The digestible fibre also reduces the incidence of acidosis and eliminates most of the typical gut problems and immune challenges associated with cereal-based diets. So you get faster, more uniform growth and finishing.

“With the uplift in beef demand and tightness in cattle numbers, strong prices are set to sustain. Making use of UK sourced co-products will maximise margins with the potential to add value through improved growth rates and faster finishing,” concludes Dr Sutcliffe.

“Moist feeds also require no processing before being fed, and can be clamped outside to free up shed space,” she adds.

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Outwintering Cattle - Pro’s & Con’s O

utwintering of cattle can offer savings of up to 50% versus traditional housing. Spring calving dairy or sucklers with lower nutritional needs are ideal candidates. Very young stock should be housed December onwards. This is all dependent on the location in the country and areas with milder and drier winters more favourable. Welfare is primary to both animal and stockperson. Public perception has never been more important so badly plunged areas and cattle with no apparent fresh forage, knee deep in mud is not desirable on a Sunday stroll. Well-fed content cattle thrive, stay put and are easier to manage, and are our shop window for efficient, ethical produce with a lower carbon footprint growing and grazing on their locality. Eliminating bought in concentrates whose manufactured ingredients have dubious airmiles and credentials of protein produced far away. Of equal importance is our staff tasked to feed and care for outwintered stock. This can be harder on people used only to bedding and feeding up in sheds and yards so beware. They need to be suitably waterproofed with clothing that keeps out the rain, wind and that cold and wet demoralising feeling - being kind to your staff and YOU should not be underestimated. Choosing fields wisely is a good starting point for outwintering when planning your cropping and rotational patterns. Avoid exposed, wet lying and inaccessible areas which will be much worse in extreme weather. Nutritional requirements are an essential consideration and growing animals need some leeway for extreme weather with more frequent strip grazing movements, additional forage bales should also be in situ. Have a housing back up even if a little cosy should it become inclement. Avoiding runoff especially into water courses and opening up other ground is wise. Not grazing over footpaths until the last phase. Wrapped silage is ideal when used amongst forage crops and brassicas generally lack structural fibre, an additional source of coarse fibre is needed to maintain rumen function. Better quality silage may be


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

placed where animals in poorer condition are planned to be kept.

Dairy replacements outwintered on fodder beet with bale silage perform well at Llys Dinmael. Photo courtesy of Mr Dafydd Jones

Calculating how many kilogrammes of DM each animal needs for the winter can be daunting but as a rule of thumb, a dry suckler cow may need 12kg and for growing cattle, 2.5% of their bodyweight. More for growing animals (Source Marc Jones ADAS). Giving access to a small area of fresh crop daily is the ideal scenario; strip-grazing with back-fencing in the wet is a good strategy. A nearby water source can be a challenge but stops unnecessary walking to a source far away. Drag troughs with sufficient poly pipe means a closer location. Watch out for freezing temperatures. Have a back-up source which may necessitate a longer distance but the ground may be harder anyway. Forage crops can be low in trace elements such as copper, selenium, manganese, zinc, cobalt and particularly iodine, so bolus implants are a useful tool avoiding access to minerals so one less daily task to check. Keep outwintered animals out of boggy areas so possible fluke exposure is limited too. Deferred grazing sees livestock excluded in late summer allowing grass to build up and fed over the Autumn/Winter. The longer the field is shut up the more dead material will build up. Clean covers when you shut the gate ensures the regrowth is of green leaf and not poorly utilised grass earlier in the season. In the wet, daily rather than weekly back fence moving helps. Flexibility in your fence infrastructure and choosing something decent is key. Modern solar powered units stay charged even in winter and eliminate battery monitoring. One decent quality poly wire hotline, pigtails and accessories suffice with a secondary hotline defence in play. A good perimeter of conventional fencing or hedges can be bolstered if necessary with a single hotwire powered by a Mains energizer -- hook in for your temporary fencing too. Mr Dafydd Jones farms two blocks of mountain and improved pasture running to

255 Ha (630 acres) at Llys Dinmael and Plas Morgan in Wales. He precision drills fodder beet and also sows a kale, turnip and swede mixture with an Einbock spring tined drill supplementing with wrapped silage bales. He runs 870 x ewes and 80 x dairy heifers.

“The big positives for us are saving on feed and labour as well as FYM/ Slurry management. Any negatives are severe weather hampering activity so having a fall back plan is essential, also mud looks bad for public perception so avoid excessive poaching and over plunged areas. Overall, it is an important part of our operation”.


Maximising root crop utilisation & staying dry too.


Plan fodder grazing in advance and if precision drilling, keep planned fence movements in mind.


Long and narrow fodder breaks work best.


Manage Diet Transition carefully, decrease the pasture or silage allocation increasing the very palatable beet gradually to avoid risk of acidosis.


Fields need to be free draining, not too steep and with shelter from weather ideally with trees and hedgerows.

“Positives for us are saving on feed and labour as well as FYM/Slurry management. Any negatives are severe weather so have a fall back plan. Also mud looks bad for public perception so avoid excessive poaching and over plunged areas. Overall, outwintering on forage is a yes for us.” - Dafydd Jones.

For more insight on Dafydd Jones approach to fodder grazing and outwintering, see our full article in this issue of NBA.

Dairy replacements outwintered on fodder beet with bale silage perform well at Llys Dinmael Photo courtesy of Mr Dafydd Jones

LOUISE MERCER 07495 112 913

LAURA SMITH 07951 969 087

ALLISON LACK 07535 552 871

DEI WILLIAMS 07507 611 195

SONIA MCBRIDE 07961603984

JOHN SYMONDS 07766 221 011

Scotland & N England

Midlands & N England

Sales Enquiries

N Wales


S & SW England

PHIL SCOTT 07957 703869

CRAVEN ARMS OFFICE 07870 517 729

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Mid & W Wales

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S England •

Industry News

BVD Free England BVDFree England is a voluntary industry-led scheme, working to free all cattle herds in England from the bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV).


t is supported by the National Beef Association (NBA), Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), The British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA), Holstein UK (HUK), Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA), and the National Farmers Union (NFU) as well as over 100 other industry supporters. It is important we control BVD, because it produces persistently infected (PI) animals, which will transiently infect others it meets for its entire lifetime. The presence of a PI will cause reproductive losses, susceptibility to secondary disease and decreased production, which all come at a high cost to the farm. At times these symptoms can appear mild or invisible and so testing to know your status is important to be sure BVD is not affecting your business. The scheme is now into its sixth year after celebrating its fifth birthday on 1 July 2021. Since the start of the scheme, 6539 holdings have registered, and 58 per cent of

these are beef herds. There were also 507 CHeCS-accredited BVD herd statuses (cattle health accreditations) which have been uploaded to the database. The scheme is free to join, and you can register via the BVDFree website using your individual holding (CPH) number as a unique identifier. The only cost to you is the testing and an upload fee of 25p per tag and test result and 50p per blood result, which is used to run and maintain the database and helpdesk. The BVDFree England Website (https:// has further information on suggested routes of testing for different types of system. Once two years of negative testing has been achieved, then you can apply to be awarded “test negative herd status”, which is then advertised on the BVDFree website to show the herd is low risk. This application must be signed off by a BCVA BVDFree accredited vet, to make sure all aspects of herd status are being

considered, such as biosecurity to protect the status of the animals between testing. The database also runs a quarterly reporting system, which sends updates and reminders out to farmers and vets about the test results held on the database and what steps to take next in their journey. The database adds further value for those who have joined and are participating in the voluntary scheme. Our hope is to continue to inspire you to join the scheme to protect your investment, and through your commitment justify making BVD elimination compulsory. A growing number of herds exist where BVD elimination and testing has been undertaken, but many of these are yet to join BVDFree, which means it is hard to determine the status of the disease across England. It is important that the scheme receives support from you, and we work together to eliminate this costly disease. NBA, along with other industry supporters of the scheme aim to increase industry engagement and want to enable the BVD status of a herd to be more easily available to buyers, so to develop a market demand for animals free of BVD, thus providing more value for you. With further initiatives on the horizon such as, the Animal Health Pathway and Livestock Information service, it is important to consider your BVD status now in preparation for more mandatory control in the future. For more information on the scheme and to register your herd, visit https://


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

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Breed Society Focus | The Lincoln Red

The Lincoln Red

An article courtesy of Jenny Hurst – a Past President of the Society Lincolnshire is a County that can be exposed to harsh easterly winds from the North Sea and many centuries ago it is believed Viking invaders first introduced large cattle into the Eastern Counties with more brought in by the Scandinavian invaders between 449 and 660 AD. These big hardy cattle eventually became established in Lincolnshire.


nown as “The large cattle from Lincolnshire” ( a quote from Gervase Markham’s book “A Way To Get Wealth” 1695) were described as ‘tall, long, lean and strong hoved’. In 1896 The Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn Society published their first Herd Book; they later became the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. The Breed was dual purpose and gradually with selective breeding the cattle became two distinct types; Dairy and Beef. The Herd Book was divided accordingly into two sections: Beef Herds and Dairy Herds. Lincoln Reds can be found, not only in the UK but around the World in North and South America and Australasia. In the UK


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

they range from The Orkneys and Shetland Isles to Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. It was a wedding present of an in-calf Lincoln Red Heifer that started my journey with the Breed in 1984 and I have learnt a lot and seen many changes. Back in, and prior to 1984, the Breed was declining in number due to the popularity of the continental cattle; but now thanks to selective breeding and breed improvement the Lincoln Red continues to gain a reputation for its excellent attributes. Over the years I have Shown and Judged at several Shows but my biggest challenge and highlight has been Judging the 2021

Lincoln Red National Herd Competition. This allowed me to see the cattle thriving in many different environments, from the edge of Bodmin Moor to the windswept North East of Aberdeenshire and many Counties in between. It was very interesting; I am impressed. The many herds I visited have adapted their management of the cattle to the conditions and type of land they farm. Some of the grazing is quite poor and the cattle are grazed extensively with very low input costs but the cows are in very good condition and rearing good calves, including good breeding cows still working at the age of 12 to 14 years old. These herds were generally

The Lincoln Red | Breed Society Focus

in the stewardship scheme. Some Breeders out-winter the cattle and feed them on potatoes and sugar beet; perhaps giving them some hay or silage in harsh weather; whilst others, to prevent poaching the land, winter them indoors; feeding the cows only a mix of hay or silage and straw. The finishing cattle are also managed in different ways, for example some herds with stewardship land, finish their steers and heifers on grass at an older age. Some bring them in for a week or so and gave them a bit of concentrate to put a final finish on them. Others finish them inside feeding hay or silage with a feed mix. The average finishing weights and grades around: Bulls 360380kg at -U3 or 4L 15/16 months; Steers 340kg at R4L 16/18 months and Heifers 320kg at R4L. Most of the herds, I saw, are in accredited High Health Schemes and a number are weight recording with Signet. Some herds are recording pelvic measurements to aid them in selecting the best heifers to breed from and maintain the ease of calving trait. The Society brought in compulsory DNA Profiling of Registered Bulls and Breeders are using known Polled Status Bulls and are monitoring the Myostatins in the genetics of the Bulls they are selecting. All the Breeders I visited have established different outlets and ways of marketing their cattle and beef; successfully selling their produce in the local area and to local butchers. Some have their own farm shop, pub or butchers shop or have set up a marketing scheme co-ordinating buyers and sellers.

Breeders are selling bulls to commercial and dairy herds and heifers are being sold as base cows to produce good commercial suckler cows, either pedigree or cross bred. They are all getting good feedback from buyers and repeat customers.

From my recent trip around the Country I have seen; since I started breeding Lincoln Reds; the Breed has become far more uniform and standardised. They have good conformation, long lived, milky dams, good temperament, easy calving, good feet, excellent food conversion rates, easy to feed, finish and produce quality beef with flavour and marbling. In discussion with newer Members, I asked them why they chose the Lincoln Red? above are all the reasons they gave. The Lincoln Red is well placed to be at the forefront of modern British livestock farming in the future. It is adaptable and can produce high quality beef from a sustainable low input system.

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Breed Society News

Breed Society

NEWS Red Poll Cattle Society – autumn update 2021 The Society continues to grow in membership and numbers of animals with several commercial herds being formed. It is also interesting to see an increase in the number of members starting up dairy herds. There have been five so far this year, the dual purpose characteristics of the breed coming to the fore again. The increase in environmental schemes and the use of native breeds in the management of these sites has also had a beneficial effect on the increased numbers of animals being kept. We have had a very successful Herd Competition with the National Champions being the Grafton Herd of Euston Estate in Suffolk. They also won the eastern area large herd competition. The large herd winners in the other areas were: southern, The Fordscroft Herd of Peter Irish, Somerset; northern, The Woldsman Herd of the Prescott Family in Yorkshire and the midlands, The Pochin Herd of John Pochin in Leicestershire. National Herd winners of the small herds were the Tompkins family’s Boames Herd, Berkshire who were also small herd winners of the Southern area. Other small herd winners were: Eastern, the Loudham Herd of Loudham Hall in Suffolk; northern, the Riddings Herd of Tracy Vaughan, Derbyshire and the midlands, The

Abbey Herd of David and Lis Blunt, Bedfordshire. Congratulations to everyone. We have had area presentations for all the above which have been well supported. It was great to meet members again after what have been a difficult couple of years. To support our publicity we have purchased an exhibition trailer which will be immensely beneficial in taking around the county over the next few years. The Society has recently been active in cataloguing all the Society archive material, we now have it all in one place, documented and easily available for scrutinising when required. A very big thank you to our Archivist Joy Broughton for carrying out this work. After about eight years of stirling work our website has been updated to cope with all the latest tech necessary these days. It has become the first point of call for anyone looking to buy or sell Red Poll Cattle and a useful tool for information and news. We are hoping that 2022 will bring even more interest in the breed and we are looking forward to getting out and about again at both county and local shows Ray Bowler Society Secretary

Breed Societies, do you have any news you would like us to publish? Email your copy and any images to


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Looking forward to promoting beef that’s fit for the future Robert Gilchrist of the AberdeenAngus Cattle Society Despite the beginning of 2021 not looking like we were anywhere near the end of a life of lockdowns and restrictions, we were all ready to welcome a more ‘normal’ summer with open arms. The return of some of our favourite shows in the calendar brought back a muchwelcomed sense of normality, albeit under stringent Covid testing protocols and limited capacities. We were pleased to see members attending shows and sales again. Having lost the social side of what we work so hard for, it felt all the more refreshing to get out and about and meet up again. Our members learn a great deal from each other at every event they attend which only adds to their value. Returning to The Royal Highland and Great Yorkshire Show was incredibly well received by our society members, where so many were able to showcase the ‘best of the best’ cattle that they have been unable to show for so long thanks to the pandemic. It was great to see a return to normality in the ring. Looking ahead for 2022, The Society are working behind the scenes to continue to promote the brand of Aberdeen-Angus to both members of the farming industry behind the farmgate and to consumers beyond the farmgate as part the breed’s 10-year strategy. One of the main driving forces behind our efforts is to highlight the breed’s leading position, as ‘Beef fit for the future’. This captures the benefits of Aberdeen-Angus cattle, while considering the entire supply chain from farm to fork. For both beef and dairy farmers, we feel it’s important for us to communicate the benefits of Aberdeen-Angus genetics and the role they play to ensure we are producing sustainable beef for a growing end market.

Breed Society News

STRONG DEMAND FOR EASY CALVING, LOW MAINTENANCE SALERS AT CASTLE DOUGLAS The Premier sale sponsored by the Farmers Guardian saw a strong demand for Salers particularly from Northern Ireland breeders. The Female Champion, Rigel Valentina sold for 2,300gns to L Howat, Cumnock Ayrshire. Topping the production sale was Patrick and Judith Boyd with Drumaglea Paula for 3,500gns to J Martin & Sons, Swinlees, Dalry. Top price of the day was 8,000gns for Approach Farm Olly, Senior Champion, from A & K Gowthorpe to R A Austin, Boreland of Girthon, Gatehouse of Fleet. The Intermediate and Reserve Overall Show Champion, Rednock Phoenix sold to Hair & Brewis, Drumbreddan, Stranraer for 6,500gns. The top priced junior bull was Bacardi PDiddy at 6,200gns from R & A Crockett to A R Lee, Lumbylaw, Alnwick. The Junior Male Champion, Male Champion and Overall Show Champion, Kaimburn Playboy from Edgerston Tradining (2006) ltd, sold to M Fleming, Magherafelt, Northern Ireland for 6,000gns.

Approach Farm Olly 8000gns.tif

Demand was exceptionally strong for commercial in-calf females. R A Austin, Boreland of Girthon, Gatehouse of Fleet sold ten in-calf heifers to a top of £2300 to John Young & Sons, New Cumnock Ayrshire. Bulling heifers peaked at £2,050 for the Champion Pen from G S McClymont, Cuil, Palnure to M Fleming, Magherafelt, Northern Ireland. Heifers stirks sold to £1,600 from Firm of A M Brown, Drumhumphry, Corsock, to J W Bonner & Sons, Whitfield House Farm, Whitfield. 20 in calf heifers to top of 3,500gn, averaged £2359.88. 4 pedigree bulling heifers to 2,000gns, averaged £1758.74 2 Cows and calves topped 2,300gns, averaged £2362.50 16 bulls sold, clearance of 73%, top price 8,000gns, average £4889.06 +£412.24 on 2020 15 heifer stirks, top £1,600, average £1193.33 34 In-Calf Heifers, top £2,300, average £1,948.53 135 Bulling heifers, top £2,050, average £1,340

Kaimburn Playboy Overall Champion.tif

Devon Cattle Breeders’ Society We have had a very busy last couple of months with our annual Herd Competition, Autumn Show & Sale and Sunday Socials at the Trenowin Herd [Overtown herd visit to follow in November]. There were 19 entries in the herd competition judged by David Martin and Jim Westaway with the Rocknell Herd owned by Graham Summerhayes being the overall winner. October 3rd members were invited to visit the winning farm near Tiverton. A large crowd enjoyed the wonderful hospitality and quality cattle, many thanks to Graham and Anita Summerhayes. Our Autumn Show & Sale at Sedgemoor was held on 5th October and despite slightly diminished entries due to the ever-present TB issues, we had a productive day. 5 top class bulls were presented to the Judge, David Barker in 2 classes. The winner of the Senior bull class was Coombe Fieldsman owned by S Cleverdon. Priorton Victory owned by JW May took first place in the younger aged bull class. Tregullow Fergie 5th, a super heifer, owned by JP Williams won the in-calf heifer class. Priorton Show Lassie 102nd owned by JW May won the maiden heifer class.

The auction followed with Priorton Victory clinching the title of highest priced bull in the sale fetching 3,400gns and Champion bull, Coombe Fieldsman fetching 2,100gns. The top selling females were Champion female, Tregullow Fergie 5th, 1,400gns and Reserve Champion female, Tregullow Dorrie 5th, 1,200gns both owned by JP Williams. We have recently held a “Sunday Social” at Higher Trenowin Farm, Cornwall. It was a very successful day where members, prospective members and support industries were invited to enjoy a light lunch, giving opportunity to discuss all aspects of Devon cattle and other issues in the farming industry. Finally, just to wish everyone a happy & healthy holiday season and a prosperous 2022.

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Case Study

“I could run the farm on my own” C ertainty is the reason why Berthold and Nina Altemeyer opted for an automated feeding system on their beef farm. For Nina, the Triomatic feeding robot is the same as having a fulltime employee on the farm. Nina: “For me, certainty is the most important reason for choosing automatic feeding. If Berthold unexpectedly fell ill or was temporarily unable to work for whatever reason, the feeding would always go ahead, whatever the circumstances. I could still run the farm on my own, and I find that a very reassuring thought.”

Because everything is now weighed with precision, the animals receive a balanced ration at all times. And if any adjustments need to be made, they can do that themselves. Berthold: “In a nutshell: we want more energy going in and less protein and fewer emissions coming out. This is possible through targeted feeding. We expect that the bullocks will even leave the barn a whole month earlier. They are now putting on 1,200 grams a day, where before it was more like 900 to 1,000 grams. Accurate feeding is saving us a lot of money over the long term”


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

“We also see an enormous difference in our animals’ behaviour”, adds Nina. “Before, they were really skittish, but now the children can even cycle through the barn and the animals will remain calm. That used to be absolutely unimaginable.”

Berthold: “The animals are calmer because they no longer need to compete for the tastiest feed. Being provided with fresh feed four times a day means there is less dominance behaviour. And when the animals are happy, so am I.”

We offer a range of feeds including; Crimped grain maize, crimped barely/wheat, forage maize and TMR tailored rations

SUPPLY OF MAIZE BASED FEEDS BALED AND BULK All our products are available in our specialist 1 tonne bales and all feeds, except our TMR tailored rations, are available in bulk. These can be delivered nationally by our range of haulage vehicles if required. We offer feeds suitable for beef and dairy as well as offering roughage

07967 803032

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



Boosting the rumen for better digestion F

or the agricultural industry, ignoring the terms “emissions”, “carbon” or “greenhouse gases” is no longer an option as there is an increasing focus on reducing them. However, for many producers it is a challenge to know how to maintain performance and profitability while reducing overall inputs, especially with variable forage qualities and inflating cereal prices. This combination poses a substantial challenge, because when forage quality is below the desired level cereal inclusion tends to be increased to bridge the energy gap. This negatively impacts overall unit emissions – as more than 40% of livestock carbon emissions are associated with the production of feed – and increases the total cost of the diet. New data from multiple sources and countries shows that the rumen can be made to work smarter, digest and convert better, yet emit less. VistaPre-T boosts the rumen’s natural ability to digest forage and allows producers to use forage smarter. Laboratory NIR analysis of 74 grass silage samples of varying quality showed that after VistaPre-T application, an average energy uplift of 0.8MJ/kg dry matter (DM) was obtained. This means that if the grass silage was provided at 20kg/head/day (fresh weight) with a DM value of 30%, then applying VistaPre-T would equate to an additional 4.8MJ of energy. This is the equivalent of providing an extra 562g of maize/ head/day. In addition to grass silage, analysis has been carried out on a range of feedstuffs to show the potential uplift from VistaPre-T application, with maize silage showing a positive energy uplift of 0.77MJ/kg DM (n=76), for example. The product works particularly well in higher neutral detergent fibre (NDF) rations and forages, with this year’s variable forage quality, there is a huge opportunity for producers to be energy-smart. VistaPre-T works to make the cellulose and hemicellulose fibre fractions more accessible to the fibre-digesting microorganisms in the rumen. It does this by acting immediately to roughen and create pits on the surface of the feed material, which makes more adhesion sites for the fibre-digesting micro-organisms once the feedstuff enters the rumen.


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

By reducing the lag time to digestion, we are boosting the rumen’s natural ability to digest forage, which increases the feeding value of the existing ration and improves feed efficiency. A recent commercial trial with 100 Stabiliser bulls, split into 2 random groups to form a control and a treatment group, showed that implementing an energy matrix approach with VistaPre-T gave us the ability to reduce emissions by 4.3% whilst maintaining performance and reducing feed costs, over the treatment period. The inclusion of VistaPre-T to the high concentrate (67%) and low forage (33%) total mixed ration (TMR) allowed the nutritionist to reduce ground maize from 6.0 kg to 5.7kg/head/day. The ration remained consistent for a 65-day period in which individual weights were recorded at the start, 38 days, and 65 days of receiving treatment. When using this approach, we are typically aiming for equal performance as we have in effect removed energy and then replaced it with the same amount of energy, which was confirmed in this trial with a consistent ADG over both groups. However, we also saw an improved feed efficiency of 3% in the trial group which could be attributed to the dietary reduction of 300g/hd/day of ground maize and the near equal performance across groups. The reduction in carbon footprint, seen above, was measured using a certified carbon emissions assessment supported by AB Vista. This showed the benefit of using VistaPre-T, with the treatment group showing a reduction of CO2 emissions of 4.3% over the 65 days and 2.5% over the lifecycle of the animal. There is potential to substantially increase this reduction by implementing an energy matrix approach through out the grower and finisher periods, also bringing benefits by lowering production costs. VistaPre-T boosts the rumen’s natural ability to digest forage, and that not only lowers emissions but maintains performance too. Less pressure on the pocket and on the environment is win–win.

Farming the rumen with VistaPre-T improves digestion, decreases emissions and increases productivity VistaPre-T boosts the rumen’s natural ability to digest forage allowing for smarter use. That not only lowers feed costs but lowers emissions by up to 15%*. Less pressure on the pocket and less pressure on the environment. It’s win-win. Contact us to learn more and to help the food chain make better use of forage. Find out more at

Energy-smart. Human-kind.

*Data on file. View at


Understanding faecal starch: Are you missing out on energy? Aimee N. Hafla, Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Agri-King, Fulton IL, United States Simon Ingle, Area Manager, Agri-King, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, England


he grain component of feedlot rations may account for 50 to 90% of the diet dry matter and is typically comprised of starchy cereal grains like barley, wheat, or maize. (Samuelson et al., 2016). Starch is a nutrient that packs a big punch when it comes to providing energy to the animal for milk or meat production. Residual starch in the manure can indicate that energy is being wasted. Several management and dietary conditions contribute to the degree of starch digestibility in a feedlot diet. Starch digestibility in the diet is most affected by: 1. Extent of grain processing: Processing of grains increases starch digestibility. Whole maize may have a total tract starch digestibility of 80%, whereas steam flaked maize may have starch digestibility as high as 99%. 2. Kernel processing of maize silage: Just like the grains, processing of maize silage kernels during harvest increases starch digestibility. 3. Moisture content of grain and fermented feeds: Maize silage that has a higher moisture content is likely to have a greater starch digestibility, compared to drier maize silage (<35% moisture). 4. Fermentation: Starch digestibility increases with time in storage, in both cereal silage and grains. A quality fermentation process and use of a forage or grain treatment product will enhance the extent of improvement in starch digestibility as the feed is stored. 5. Type and variety of grain used: Wheat, maize, and barley have rapid and extensive ruminal starch digestibility, while sorghum grain tends to have lower starch digestibility. Some varieties of maize may have better starch digestibility compared to others. A survey of U.S. feedlots found a large variation in levels of faecal starch from cattle consuming maize-based finishing diets (Schwandt et al., 2015). The average faecal starch reported from feedlots in this survey was 19%, with a range of 7 to 37%. Furthermore, a Canadian study found faecal starch levels on feedlots using barley as their primary energy source averaged 10% (Standford et al., 2015). These relatively


The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

high levels of faecal starch suggest that there are opportunities industry-wide to improve animal performance and feed efficiency through increased starch utilisation. If faecal starch is found to be greater than 5% (depending on level of grain processing), there is likely opportunity to improve starch digestibility. Beyond management considerations, starch digestibility can be enhanced other ways, such as with the addition of commercially available feed products like Maximiser® that target increased digestion of starch, protein, and fibre. Improved nutrient availability and absorption should result in better animal performance and feed efficiency. In a recent farm trial conducted near York, England, Holstein Angus cross steers and heifers (averaging 475 kgs) were separated into two groups, where one group received a control diet (CP = 15.6%, NEg = 1.30 Mcal/kg, Dietary starch = 33.7%) and the other group received the same diet treated with Maximiser®, for 80 days. Faeces from cattle consuming the diet treated with the Maximiser® contained less residual starch (3.80% vs. 4.80% starch, respectively), compared to cattle consuming the control diet. The 23% reduction in faecal starch excretion from the cattle consuming the treated diet represents enhanced nutrient breakdown and utilisation which was reflected in improved animal performance. The cattle consuming the treated diets ate 0.50kg of dry matter per head per day and had a slightly higher daily gain (0.10 kg), resulting in an 8% improvement in feed efficiency, compared to the cattle on the control diet (Hafla, 2021). An evaluation of faecal starch conducted

by your nutritionist is an effective way to determine if you are missing out on energy through insufficient starch digestion. Adjusting management and dietary conditions are an effective way to increase the utilisation of starch and other nutrients from the diet. Products that are added to forage and silage-based feeds to enhance the digestion of targeted nutrients including starch, protein, and fibre can be available through your nutritionist. Tel: 01243 558884 Email: References Hafla. A.N. 2020. Understanding faecal starch: Are you missing out on energy? Agri-King Advantage. Vol. 11. Issue 6. Samuelson, K.L., M.E. Hubbert, M.L. Galyean, and C.A. Loest. 2016. Nutritional recommendations of feedlot consulting nutritionists. The 2015 New Mexico State and Texas Tech University survey. J. Anim. Sci. 94:26482663. Doi:10.2527/jas2016-0282. Schwandt, E.F., D.U. Thomson, S.J. Bartle, and C.D. Reinhardt. 2015. A survey of dry-processed-corn particle size and faecal starch in midwestern United States feedlots. The Prof. Anim. Sci. 31:467-472. Standford. K., M. Swift, T. McAllister, D. Gibb. 2015. Fine tuning faecal starch can cut your feed bill. Beef Cattle Research Council Research Project Factsheet.

Industry News

SenseHub ear tag upgraded with multifunction LED and longer-lasting battery


llflex Livestock Intelligence has updated its intelligent SenseHub monitoring ear tag with a multi-function LED to make it easier to find individual animals in a group environment.

The new ear tag constantly monitors subtle fertility and rumination behavioural patterns in beef cattle of all ages to provide an accurate assessment of when animals are in heat or in need of additional attention or treatment. The addition of a flashing LED makes it easier for herd managers to spot which animal(s) the SenseHub system has highlighted as being in need of attention, while an improved battery extends the outgoing tag’s lifespan from three to five years. “The new monitoring ear tags have been developed following feedback from existing SenseHub users who wanted a system which would make it easier to spot individual animals when housed in a group environment,” explains Paul Mitcham, Allflex’s monitoring sales manager for the UK. “The new tags make it easier and less time-consuming to find individual animals and can be configured to the user’s preferred settings. For example, the LED can be programmed to flash quickly or slowly to differentiate between animals in heat and those which have been highlighted as requiring additional medical attention.” To further enhance their functionality, and to extend battery life, the new tags can also be configured to only flash at certain times of the day. For example, the LED can be set to be on during the day and off at night, and to flash for a set duration ranging from 10 minutes to 10 hours.

SenseHub™ Livestock Monitoring Taking the guesswork out of beef herd management The SenseHub™ livestock monitoring system takes the guesswork out of beef herd management by collecting data on your cows’ behaviour and generating actionable insights to help you maintain a healthier herd, increase the number of calves born and reduce operational costs. Sensehub™ is simple to operate with easy to understand graphs and tables which can be viewed on PC, tablet and smart phone. SenseHub™ helps you to make better decisions and saves you time by ‘watching the cows 24 hours a day’, sending animal health and heat alerts direct to your phone.

The small (70mm x 38mm x 17mm) and lightweight (24.5gr) tags are fully waterproof (IP68 rated) and are ideally suited for placement in the ears of cattle of all ages. They are also easy to remove and can be re-fitted to another animal. They are also covered by a full 4-year warranty. The upgraded monitoring ear tag from Allflex boasts a battery life of up to five years and has an in-built multi-function LED to make it easier to spot which animal SenseHub has highlighted as being in need of attention either for heat, health or routine examination.

Find out more about how SenseHub™ could improve the productivity and profitability of your herd; 01207 529000

The lightweight tags are fully waterproof and are suitable for use in dairy and beef cattle of all ages. They can also be easily removed, enabling them to be re-fitted to another animal.

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


Beef Breed Directory

The British Limousin Cattle Society 02476 696500

Dairy Cottage, Tower Road, Ayton, Berwickshire TD14 5QX 01432 272057

Tel: 01890 781358 Mob: 07592 139708 Email:

BREEDING SALES February, May & October Fieldsman: Charles Symons

Limousin - the breed with the premium built in


Avenue M, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. CV8 2RG Tel: 02476 697222 Email:




T: 01573 440207 Mob: 07971 231885

Unit 1, The Stable Yard, Woodhayes Farm, Honiton, Devon, EX14 4TP t: 01404 47863 e:





The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

Holme House The Dale, Ainstable Carlisle,Cumbria CA4 9RH

British Bazadaise Cattle Society 01666 860470



01768 870522


THE UK’S NO. 1 CONTINENTAL BREED FOR AGE AT SLAUGHTER Telephone +44 (0) 2476 696 513

Beef Breed Directory



The perfect suckler cow ( 01245 600032



Gascon Cattle Society




SALERS CATTLE SOCIETY OF THE UK Jasmine Cottage, Gavinton, TD11 3QP 07903 626249



Breed Secretary: Pauline Milton 07787722497

gasconcattle@btconnect .com 01954 232796 | 07771 333303


Breed Secretary Gillian Harries A versatile hardy suckler breed

07791 587236 01437 541450 01738 622477

The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society Society Pavilion, Avenue M, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, CV8 2RG

Patron: Her Majesty The Queen

Stirling Agricultural Centre Stirling FK9 4RN

Tel: 01786 446866

Aberdeen-Angus, its more than a breed, it’s a brand.

t: 02475 099146 e:

WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine


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.

Standard subscription: £75.00 Under 26/student subscription: £40.00


Corporate Membership

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.


For more information on Corporate Membership packages from NBA, please call 01434 601005 or email

GOLD MEMBERS SHEARWELL DATA Animal identification systems: excellent cattle and sheep tags, comprehensive on-farm software and full management systems using EID.

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The National Beef Association Magazine | WINTER 2021

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WINTER 2021 | The National Beef Association Magazine



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