31 March 2000

Hunt is on for Hereford beef

A NEW scheme to find more Hereford-sired beef for a major retailer has been launched offering farmers a premium for stock.

Over 150 Hereford-sired cattle are being slaughtered each week by Doncaster-based Dovecote Park to supply 20 Waitrose stores. Numbers of cattle are expected to reach 200 head a week by the end of this year, although more would be needed if the retailer decides to extend the scheme in future.

Eligible animals must be sired by a bull registered with the breed society and reach a minimum carcass weight of 250kg. A pricing scale based on average beef prices has been devised which farmers suggest offers an extra 10p/kg over the current market value.

According to Surrey-based Hereford supplier, Barry Myers, the scheme has become a great success. "It offers consistency of price and a consistent market. You are dealing with cattle that are easy to manage and feed, and have a lower fattening cost compared with Continental crosses."

Pre-packed Hereford beef replaces all other packed supplies in the selected stores. &#42