Asda and ABP visit US to improve beef productivity

Asda and ABP have visited the US in a bid to increase efficiency in suckler beef production through selective breeding for feed conversion and herd productivity.

A team of 11 BeefLink farmers travelled to Denver, Colorado, to gain an understanding of how large-scale farming systems work in the US.

They visited Lee Leachman’s breeding farm and a number of leading beef industry organisations and research centres, looking at US carcases.

Asda’s agricultural manager Pearce Hughes said: “Efficient, profitable cows are at the heart of American suckler farming and it was interesting to see how the Leachmans are achieving this in the stabiliser base herd.

“BeefLink farmers have been using stabiliser genetics in recent years to maximise productivity and profitability and this trip has helped many understand just how progressive these genetics are and what a huge difference the right genetics can make to farm output.”

He explained that some of the stabiliser bulls seen on the trip converted at 4:1, which could benefit British beef production hugely.

ABP’s Asda agricultural manager Elwyn Pugh explained: ”There are many stark differences between the UK and US beef industries, but there are a great many similarities too, and we will be giving plenty of thought as to how we can adapt what we’ve seen for use in the UK.”

The BeefLink farmers were impressed with the scale of breeding operation in the US. Asda/ABP BeefLink demonstration farmer Mike Powley commented: ”While US producers are breeding and feeding cattle for a completely different market to ours, many of the challenges they face are the same as ours.

“Rising feed costs and the need to maximise suckler output are issues for farmers on both sides of the Atlantic and it was clear that US farmers are looking to address these issues through both better breeding and better management.”