9 July 1999

Alliances might add £s to dairy and beef profits

UK beef and dairy producers could soon benefit from a marketing initiative that is seeing Irish beef producers achieve premiums of £100 a finished animal.

Gerard Keenan, of equipment manufacturers Richard Keenan UK, told show visitors that after the success of the Irish-based Keenan Kepak Beef Alliance, it is now putting together three Dairy Alliance projects and one Beef Alliance project in the UK.

He hopes Dairy Alliance projects will begin by September and the Beef Alliance later in the year.

These alliances are based on producers meeting the target quality set by their customers, to improve the profitability of both. "Producers profit from premium prices and lower cost feeding. They become focused on a target quality and can achieve it using a flexible feeding system to cope with farm variations," said Mr Keenan.

Under the scheme, the processor can afford to pay more because of increased consistency and less waste.

In soft cheese production, one maker has increased yield by 35% by producing optimum quality milk. In Keenan trials, hard cheese producers have lifted yields by up to 15% by using optimum quality milk. "There is real value for the processor and that should be available to share with the producer."

The Irish Keenan Kepak Alliance now involves 130 producers. As market prices have fallen the processor has taken a longer-term view and maintained scheme prices, so the premium has increased to over £100 an animal, he added. &#42