21 May 1999

Opportunities in bull beef market

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 and 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 400-600,000 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. &#42

20-year tenancies

TWO unusual opportunities for tenant farmers to acquire a 20-year farm business tenancy have arisen in Dorset, says Edward Dyke of the Humberts Blandford office.

The first, on the instruction of the Crown Estate, is a 255-acre mixed dairy/arable farm on the Bryanston Estate near Blandford, with an option to extend to 500 acres. It consists of a modern 140-cow dairy complex, 850,000 litres of quota and a 750t grain store, as well as two dwellings including a four-bedroom farmhouse.

The second, also a mixed dairy/arable unit, is on the National Trusts Kingston Lacy Estate near Wimborne, Dorset. This includes a 120-cow unit, over 308,000 litres of quota and up to three dwellings. The land extends to 338 acres.

"We believe these instructions can provide a valuable opening for the young career farmer," says Mr Dyke. Alternatively, they could attract farmers wishing to sell up and release capital but who want to farm for another twenty years, he adds.

Particulars are available from the agents, and viewing days are May 25-26 at Bryanston and Jun 1-2 at Kingston Lacy. &#42


&#8226 FEWER growers will have to pay Horticultural Development Council levy over the next five years if a recommendation to MAFF by the HDC to double the threshold turnover to £50,000 succeeds.

The threshold has remained at £25,000 since 1986. However, growers who now escape compulsory payment will be encouraged to pay a voluntary amount. Grower funds amounted to £3.5m last year, used for near-market research. The move will scarcely affect that total, says the HDC.

&#8226 LOWER livestock values reduced turnover at farmer-owned Anglia Quality Meat by more than 27% to £21m last year.

Profits fell 36% to just over £84,000. But members will still receive a share of a £62,000 bonus in September, including a payment of 10p a weaner marketed during the year, says chairman Eustace Bullman.

With no claims made against the debt fund, members will also be paid a refund of all 1993 contributions, amounting to £96,000, at the same time. &#42

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