4 December 1998

Butcher sings fat cover praises

A CARCASS from a Limousin-cross heifer won the championship and earned praise from judge Nobby Bristow for its "ideal" fat cover.

"This carcass is carrying the right amount of finish to give it outstanding eating quality but it is probably more finish than some producers are achieving on their cattle."

Mr Bristow, who runs a butchers shop at Outwoods in Surrey as well as his own herd of Aberdeen Angus cross suckler cows, said the days of the ultra-lean carcass were over.

"The export market is not going to be the saviour of the industry. We have got to win back British consumers by providing them with succulent and flavoursome beef."

Yes, feeding and management are important, but we have got to get back to more traditional breeding in our suckler cows and we have to put more finish on our prime cattle to give beef more taste.

"It will mean beef finishers have to be strict about selecting cattle for slaughter. More finish does not mean turning the clock back to over-fat cattle, but the era of over-leanness is certainly on the wane," said Mr Bristow.

The champion beef carcass was entered by M &#42 Miller, Bicester, Oxon, and was by the Limousin bull Staveley Hurricane. Champion lamb carcass was from Midlands exhibitor David Gardiner. His winner was a Beltex-cross.