By John Burns
INTENSIVE bull beef producers are being sought by a Devon-based consortium to supply an assured outlet under contract with two national abattoirs.
As well as the outlet, Calf Link (South West) will supply selected reared dairy bull calves and technical advice, says calf dealer Ted Haste, who established the scheme with feed specialist Bill Harper and farmer Rosemary Risdon.
“This is an umbrella organisation set up to provide large numbers of uniform quality cattle every week to two national abattoirs,” says Mr Haste.
“We will be able to guarantee full traceability of cattle including parentage, all movements, feeds and health records. So we could also meet the spec for the date-based export scheme.”
Anticipating criticism from traditional beef producers, he says the bull beef will be O and P grades going to the fast food sector.
They will be competing with imported beef. “So it wont be a get-rich-quick scheme, but I believe there will be a margin provided producers get the bull premium.”
When the calf processing aid scheme ends, a quarter or more of the 400,000-600,000 dairy bull calves currently slaughtered under the scheme will then be reared, he maintains.
Calf Link will help meet precise needs of the market and secure best prices, he adds.
Calves may be finished on the farm of birth, or by specialist finishers taking 10-week-old selected reared calves either from these farms or calf rearers.
The bull calves will be selected at seven days and 10 weeks by Mr Haste. Target weights are 75kg at 10 weeks and 500kg at 12 months. The minimum number of calves will be 10.