3 March 2000

US beef lots show way

LOW-COST, high-tech beef production gave a group of Devon farmers food for thought when they visited Nebraska, USA, last week, as part of a project seeking ways forward for their own beef sector.

Partly funded by the Greater Exmoor LEADER scheme, the group is looking at all ways to keep Exmoors beef producers viable. Spokesman Richard Webber said that despite the size of some feedlots – they visited one with 8000 cattle and one with 20,000 which is being expanded to 80,000 – feeders were still no match for the giant abattoir-processors. One way to get a better deal from these giants was to become their best customer and supply lots of consistently good quality cattle. But some feeders were grouping together to build their own packing plant, and some were moving into branded products. &#42