Asda and ABP explore sustainable beef production

A producer meeting for Asda/ABP BeefLink was held in York last week, to examine efficient and sustainable beef production.

Attended by more than 200 farmers, the meeting saw Asda’s red meat buying manager Jim Viggars outline the latest trends in red meat consumption and consumer shopping habits.

“Consumers continue to vote with their pockets, but they are increasingly aware of provenance and want to know their meat has been produced to the highest possible standards,” said Viggars.

“Where Asda wins is that we are consistently winning on price, but we also have a dedicated supply chain team, ensuring our meat is some of the best available. BeefLink is central to that and the quality of beef produced by our farmers is second to none,” he added.

ABP agricultural manager Stuart Roberts said the outlook for the beef sector looked good as “there simply isn’t enough beef to go round”. He continued: “But that isn’t a reason for complacency; everyone in the beef supply chain has to work hard to ensure British beef remains competitive on the supermarket shelf.”

One of the attending farmers, Shropshire-based James Evans, explained that he is now producing 30% more weight of beef from 25% less input, due to the stabiliser breed.

He said: “It’s all about efficient cows, which get in calf easily and breed cattle capable of producing more beef from less feed. Stabilisers are great forage converters and need significantly less concentrate than comparable breeds to produce the same level of output.”

The meeting also saw the annual BeefLink carcase competition, which was won by Keith and Mark Robshaw from Tadcaster with their steer carcase.

ABP’s Asda agricultural manager Elwyn Pugh added: ““Through BeefLink we work in partnership with some of the very best beef farmers in the country. The whole ethos of BeefLink is to keep in close contact with our supplying farmers and update them on latest changes and challenges in the industry.

“Producer meetings such as this one enable farmers, retailers and processors to come together and share learning across the whole supply base. They also allow farmers to give us much-valued feedback and allow everyone in the supply chain to strive together for a better future.