Meaty challenge for producers

Farmers should work more closely with the meat supply chain to ensure more of their cattle and sheep meet market requirements.The English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) has said that less than half of all stock sold is within the market target for prime English beef.

Farmers should work more closely with the meat supply chain to ensure more of their cattle and sheep meet market requirements.

The English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) has said that less than half of all stock sold is within the market target for prime English beef.

Producers of all types of beef have scope to increase returns by improving cattle conformation and fat levels to meet demand.

After inspecting cattle to be sold at Colchester Livestock Market, the farmers went to the Direct Meats' cutting plant at Chappel.


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The event was organised by Adas and Defra to encourage farmers to work more closely with the red meat supply chain - auctioneers, abattoirs, meat processors, butchers and caterers.

"It can only be a positive step forward to bring together farmers, butchers and chefs to share ideas on how best to produce the highest quality British meat," said Martyn Cox, director of Direct Meats.

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"Our customers, among them a number of top chefs, are very demanding in what they expect of our products - in terms of portion control, eating quality, amount of fat coverage and marbling - and so we have to set high standards for the meat we buy.

"We are looking all the time to source more meat locally to add to the British Excellence premium brand we launched last year."

Michael Richardson, EBLEX regional manager, said that while the imminent opening up of the market to older animals and the new Single Farm Payment brought profound changes to the industry there were considerable opportunities for the future.

He pointed to the EU deficit in beef - providing markets which the UK had to work hard to regain post the BSE era - and to the chance to reduce the high dependence on imports in manufacturing meat products.

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