27 November 1998

Group offers many pluses

BEING part of a group which promotes high-quality, locally sourced meat is attractive to one Lincs suckler producer who has joined LQBL.

Mike Harrison, Baumber Park, Hemingby, Horncastle, has 110 Lincoln Red x Simmential cows which are served by Belgian Blue and Blonde dAquataine bulls, producing three-quarter continental calves.

Regional branding is a good concept, says Mr Harrison. "I want to support it because it focuses on locally produced high quality meat, which combines well with my self-contained grass fed suckler herd.

So far, Mr Harrison has sold only 12 animals through the group. But he is pleased with premiums paid for his animals and will be marketing his grazed heifers through LQBL.

"Unfortun-ately, Louth market which is nearest has few buyers for bulls, but theres a healthy premium for top beasts. Poorer bulls sell better at Newark," he says.

Marketing animals within a region has other advantages, says Mr Harrison. "I like knowing where my animals are being sold. When you sell to a big abattoir you have no idea where the final market is.

"As long as quality remains high and restrictions tight, I am sure we will see benefits from branding our products."

"Its harder to justify for small herds which are looking at every cost because they have to become FABBL registered before they can join." &#42