FARMER FOCUS: Worried about future of the beef industry

Calving is going well. We’re three quarters through in six weeks and so far clear from Schmallenberg. Fat bulls went for slaughter last week with over half grading – U2.

On the strength of this I’ve decided not to castrate this years’ calves. Time will tell whether that is the right decision.

I still worry about the future of suckler beef and I’m saddened to see retailers going down the breed route to find a point of difference. I believe they should get farmers to hit the specification they want and reward that specification with a premium price.

This methodology would soon sort the lack of consistency in beef production and, more importantly, it would stimulate supply.

Our wedding function barn is nearly finished and is being opened for business on July 1. It’s been such an exciting project and I’m looking forward to combining the catering and farm businesses. With CAP reform looming I want to make sure my farm is in as strong a position for the future.

This is my last column and it’s been great fun writing and sharing my thoughts with you all. Three years has gone by fast and it will be interesting to see what the next three bring.

If I could give one piece of advice it would be this: get involved in your industry. Government is bust and we have more costs coming our way than you would have believed possible.

Minette Batters farms 120ha on a tenant farm on the Longford Estate in south Wiltshire. The enterprise consists of 100 continental-bred suckler cows and a catering business. Minette is also the founder of Ladies in Beef

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