29 November 1996

Prime suspects

THIEVES and vandals left their mark at the Royal Smithfield Show. Hundreds of pounds worth of prime British beef disappeared from the Safeway stand on Saturday night.

And on Sunday night, vandals caused £1,700 of damage by destroying a water tank display on the ING Farm Finance stand.

Prime suspects

And on Sunday night, vandals caused £1,700 of damage by destroying a water tank display on the ING Farm Finance stand.

@NT:DAIRY producers should improve genetic merit, secure quota and improve quality assurance, the audience was told at the <H>fw<P>Farmer Forum <f"Century Mt Ep It">BSE and the milk producer<f"Century Mt Ep">.

@NTI:ADAS business development manager Helen Woolley said the biggest problem affecting profitability was falling EU milk prices.

"There will be a steady decline in dairy farm profits from 1997-98," she predicted. "The way forward is through competitive growth by replacing stock and securing quota." Producers in other countries will not stop developing their businesses while we overcome this crisis, said Ms Woolley.

A genetic strategy focusing on the traits of economic importance, including replacing lower merit stock by culling under the 30-month scheme and buying in higher genetic merit heifers, would benefit producers.

"In recent weeks there had been opportunities to secure quota at prices that allow a margin and after Christmas there may be an opportunities to secure quota for the longer term," said Ms Woolley.

Genus director Tom Kelly advised that it is essential to secure a future for milk by improving quality. "There has been a tendency to do the minimum as happened with transport and use of antibiotics. Producers should volunteer for quality assurance and not be dragged there if they wish to be in milk in 10 years."

That means quality management for milk production and dedication to efficiency including the cost of the feeding system, traceability and animal welfare, said Mr Kelly.

He advised improving quality by using high PIN bulls to produce more efficient animals on high and low output or input systems. These can be young sires to reduce semen cost.

It is also important to ensure food is recorded and to visit feed mills, he said. Test water quality and record medicines, recommended Mr Kelly. Most farms cannot be faulted on welfare but should be able to demonstrate it with records, he said.@NT:THIEVES and vandals have left their mark at the Royal Smithfield Show. Hundreds of pounds worth of prime British beef disappeared from the Safeway stand on Saturday night.

@NTI:And on Sunday night, vandals caused £1,700 of damage by destroying a water tank display on the ING Farm Finance stand.