Scottish beef producer Jim Brown from Gaindykehead Farm, Airdrie has called for renewed focus on traditional breeds and a move away from lean beef such as Blonde d’Aquitaine and Belgian Blue.
To a warm reception from the Oxford Farming Conference, Mr Brown said: “Continental cattle are too lean and have lost succulence and taste. They are not popular with customers. We desperately need to keep some traditional breeds, like the Aberdeen Angus, Shorthorn, Galloway and Luing bloodlines in our suckler herds and cross them with the Limousin, Charolais and Simmental. Breeders must listen to the marketplace and supply the customer with what they want. Realistically, if your cattle are not popular, it is time for change.”
Mr Brown farms 320 acres in north Lanarkshire, where he finishes 2000 head of beef and sells it to butchers and supermarkets. He has expanded and changed the enterprise substantially since inheriting 62 acres, a house and buildings with no electricity or water in 1963.
When asked about the future of the Scottish beef industry, Mr Brown said he wished he was 40 years old again. “I think the challenges for farming and the food industry are at their most opportune in my lifetime. There is a growing world population and, with politicians almost always making mistakes, I reckon we are heading for the greatest food shortage in history.”
- More from the Oxford Farming Conference