Members of the North East Grains co-op hope to launch their own brand of beef and lamb later this year, branded as Northumberland Meat.

The animals will be reared on a blended feed containing wheat, barley, beans, peas and lupins, grown by the organisation’s 70 members. Co-op manager Neil Carr said the idea had been well received.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm for this project among our members.

A high percentage already keep sheep and cattle, although some have traditionally sold store animals.

“We have been looking at the possibility of store producers retaining ownership of their livestock, but sending them to a farmer member with spare buildings for finishing.

Details have yet to be worked out.”

Chairman Ian Craigs usually sells the progeny of his 200-cow Limousin cross suckler herd on a deadweight system, but wants to boost profitability.

“Our members already co-operate with each other in selling their grain and there is a tremendous loyalty among the group,” said Mr Craigs, of Tritlington Hall, Morpeth.

“We think we can work well together to get a higher price.

“Shortening the food chain by selling direct should increase returns.”

If you are interested in the scheme, contact Neil Carr on 01670 791 096.