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Beef Cattle the Focus of NE Farm Event, Featuring the “Great Beef Debate"

Published Wednesday, 15th October 2014 in SAC Consulting news

A free event on Tuesday 4 November at Easter Auquharney, Hatton near Peterhead will explore ways to improve the production efficiency and business returns of beef finishers.

Key industry figures will then take part in the Great Beef Debate chaired by NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller.

Starting at 10.30 am and organised by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College, the event should attract those who rear the suckled calves and those who then buy the calves to fatten for the market.

“The unsettling price fluctuation of recent months has raised many questions about the way forward for beef, especially the finishers”, says SAC Consultant Ian Pritchard. “We think the event will encourage farmers to discuss the options, hear what all the links in the chain have to say and get a look at an outstanding host farm.”

The 1700 acre Easter Auquharney Farm near Hatton is owned by Dr Gordon Masson and his wife Ann and managed by James Law. James is a past president of Royal Northern Agricultural Society (RHAS) and was previously farm manager at the Rowett Research Institute outside Aberdeen.

The farm has expanded significantly in recent years. It grows nearly 1000 acres of cereals and oilseed rape, with grassland also utilised to feed the beef cattle which are bought in the early part of the year. These are grazed then fattened inside before being sent to Woodhead Bros Ltd of Turriff.

There has been substantial investment in buildings with two new cattle courts for 300 animals each. A 1500 tonne feed store and an additional 1500 tonne silage pit have also been built. There are plans to increase the annual throughput of cattle considerably.

During the day there will be presentations from College experts on issues including livestock nutrition for production performance, finishing system efficiencies, livestock health and novel ways to measure beef cattle production, both on the farm and after they leave the farm gate.

Taking part in the Great Beef Debate will be farmer Robert Marshall of Kincraigie Farms, Lumphanan, a producer of beef calves sold on as stores, well known and outspoken beef finisher Jim Brown from Lanarkshire, Frank Ross from ABP, Perth, representing the beef processing link in the chain and, from the retailers Andrew Loftus from Wm Morrison Supermarkets. Debate Chairman Nigel Miller will encourage comment from his farmer audience.

While the meeting is free food will be provided and it would help with organising the catering if those planning to attend register by contacting the SAC Consulting office in Turriff 01888 563333.

The event is supported by the Scottish Funding Council’s Success Through Knowledge programme.

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