2 May 1997

ADAS to clear up beef breed confusions

OPTIONS for beef breeding strategies, future financial support and marketing are still causing confusion amongst producers and impeding the industrys fight back.

ADAS head of beef and sheep Neil Pickard believes many producers are unclear of the management options that exist and this is preventing them planning and investing to secure their future.

To explain whats available ADAS has organised three free conferences sponsored by MAFF, Barclays Bank and Marks and Spencer at venues across the country.

Advice on profitability of beef enterprises, marketing aspects and financial business review will all be on the agenda.

"Future financial support will be discussed by the head of MAFFs beef and sheep division, Richard Cowan," says Mr Pickard.

"Likely levels of financial support are a vital factor in planning investments and as the EU has stated it wishes to reduce beef production, and plans to consult during 1997 on beef support, changes will almost certainly follow."

Changes to come?

Forage acreage payments, reduced quotas and a limited level of support/holding are all options. And upland producers could have £300 a head less income if some of the proposed changes become legislation.

In addition to financial pressure options for breeding are also causing confusion.

ADASs Duncan Pullar will explain that previous breeding programmes using dairy bred crosses were ideal in ensuring hybrid vigour – worth 15% in extra productivity over purebred animals.

"But pressure to avoid dairy crosses for heifer replacements because of conformation and BSE status, and fewer beef inseminations on dairy farms, means many will consider breeding their own replacements and lose productivity as they head towards pure breeding," says Mr Pullar.

He will discuss rotational cross breeding using two, three or four breeds and the composite approach to breeding to maintain hybrid vigour.

&#8226 The three free conferences will be held at Hexham, Builth Wells, and Launceston. Lunch will be provided free of charge and places must be booked by phoning (0345-660085) because seats are limited.