10 international delegates joined an Inward Trade Mission 16-19 May 2017 held around the National Beef Association's Beef Expo at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Supported by BLG (British Livestock Genetics Consortium) & AHDB (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board) the visit was co-ordinated by Richard Saunders & John Fleming.
Coming from Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia & Germany respectively the attendees came from a wide background of experience in cattle breeding, genetics and meat marketing with their main breed interest being Aberdeen Angus, British Blue & Galloway. Some of the group were able to extend their stay to take in a sale at Carlisle, a tour of Genus ABS and other farm visits.
A highlight of the Inward Mission were the Beef Expo Farm Tours held on the 17th May. Showcasing the very best of British beef production, a diverse selection of beef farms were chosen - all championing efficiencies in their relative sectors. Tom & Roger Elliott of Upper Heyford Farm presented their herd of 300 British Shorthorn, South Devon and crossbred cattle, demonstrating how their system optimises forage to produce quality native-bred stores and replacement heifers.
Upper Coton Farms, Guilsborough, is home to Mike, Jane & Charlie Wills' Approved Finishing Unit which finishes 1,300 cattle per year. The combination of precise cattle selection - predominantly Limousin-bred - and rigorous attention to home-grown feed results in tremendous performance to maximise liveweight gain and minimise cost per kilo.
John Bell, Berryfields Farm, Daventry focused on presenting a fully integrated beef supply chain based around Holstein bull calves through Meadow Quality and his own feed plant, Berrystock Feeds. This AFU finishes around 2,000 head of dairy-bred cattle annually to supply Dunbia which feeds into Co-op & Lidl. The system relies on quality-assured calves and efficient feeds to maximise return.
The group was welcomed to the AHDB stand by Jean-Pierre Garnier, Head of Exports, who spoke about the British beef industry and its world-leading position as an exporter of meat, genetics and livestock.