Towards pastures new

31 December 1999

Towards pastures new

DEVELOPING new markets will be the focus of one Norfolk beef producer in the next millennium.

John Carrick farms at Park Farm, Swanton Morley, Dereham, where he runs 99 suckler cows on 101ha (250 acres) of permanent pasture, which is ESA land and cannot be put to the plough.

As he still owns a butchers shop, Mr Carrick hopes to use this to market more of his cattle. "I believe there is a trend where people want to eat traditional, locally produced meat which need not be any more expensive than in supermarkets."

Any commercial animals sold like this would be the pick of Mr Carricks stock. "Anything which I was not happy with would be sold in commercial markets." Normally, Mr Carrick finishes about 20 of his best steers in June, with the rest being sold as stores. But having discussed future plans for his herd and the effect of Agenda 2000 changes with Signet consultant Geoff Fish this might change too.

Having calculated how Mr Carrick can gain most returns from available subsidy payments, Mr Fish suggests selling steers after one BSP claim and taking heifers through to finishing. This would allow Mr Carrick to claim the top tier of extensification payments.

This is a plan Mr Carrick is going to consider, despite having limited building space for housing cattle, but he dislikes the notion of subsidies being the main driver for beef profits. &#42

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