Wholesome NIbeef

19 October 2001

Wholesome NIbeef

CUTTING production costs and raising consumers awareness of the health benefits of grass-fed beef will ensure the survival of Northern Irelands beef producers.

Speaking at a Greenmount College conference, organised by the National Beef Association and the Department of Agriculture, the colleges beef adviser Cormac McKervey said differentiation of NI beef is crucial to gain market premiums.

Against efficiently produced Argentinian beef imports, which are marketed as clean and green, NI beef must be promoted as wholesome and naturally fed. "There should be an additional label on NI and other UK beef which underlines its omega fatty acid content," he said.

But NI beef must remain competitively priced. The colleges James OBoyle described research proving a vast range of financial performance between NI beef farms. "It is possible for a well-managed herd of 60 cows, running on a fully owned 64ha, to make a profit of £20,000-24,000/year.

"But improving financial performance means keeping more cows, making sure they rear a calf every year, claiming suckler cow premium on heifers, reducing fixed costs and carefully budgeting rented land," he advised. &#42

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