Give beef farmers guidance – NBA

BEEF FARMERS need advice on which husbandry methods are regarded as environmentally sustainable, according to the National Beef Association.

The NBA says many lowland and upland suckled calf breeders are still not sure of what they can, or cannot, do under new SFP rules.

“Current deliberations are handicapped because neither farmers, nor government, are sure exactly which husbandry methods are considered environmentally sustainable and which are not,” said NBA policy advisor, Kim-Marie Haywood.

“The core of the problem is that environmentalists love cattle in summer when their grazing contributes directly to habitat conservation.
“But they tend to challenge the practice of out-wintering due to possible soil and water contamination – even though it provides a considerable cost saving for the farmer.”

Miss Haywood said wintering cattle outside was better for the health of the animals and if the system was properly installed it would minimise the effect on the environment.

“Advisors must consider the impact on both the environment and on welfare when providing counsel on wintering systems,” he said.

“Cross-compliance regulations are only a rough guide and do not cover some of the most important specifics.

“There is no such thing as a perfect cattle winter management system but those that are least damaging need to be encouraged otherwise there will not be enough cattle to do the full environmental job in summer,” Miss Haywood added.

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