Blade Farming has bought the calf marketing business of Mole Valley Farmers in the West Country, doubling its reared calf capacity.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, brings Mole Livestock Initiative producers over to Blade’s contract rearing system, which pays a fee to farmers rearing their baby calves.
The reared calves will be sold to Blade finishers, and on to supply Tesco, McDonald’s or Somerfield, under its “So Good West Country Beef” brand.
MLI was set up to market members’ calves and feed information back down the supply chain from customers in the processing and retail sectors and has around 500 members.
“We are looking at all calf rearing markets and standardising production to take cost out and ensure finishers always end up with consistent calves,” said Richard Phelps, managing director of Blade Farming South West.
MLI members would see smaller commissions and lower fixed costs as a result of the deal, he claimed.
Mole farmers will also have more marketing options, because Blade offers forward contracts for finished animals.
Mr Phelps quoted deadweight beef prices of 200p/kg for animals killed in 2006 and 215p/kg for those finished this year.
Blade is looking to expand its network of producers northwards to cover new areas of the UK over the next year.