FARMING leaders are inviting comment on their draft blueprint for beef, aimed at boosting the sector.
The NFU Scotland plan includes measures to maintain production, improve on-farm efficiency, build on animal health and protect Scotch Beef’s reputation.
The union’s Livestock Live roadshow seeking views is going around Scotland and will be held at Carfraemill, near Lauder, on Tuesday (December 11).
NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said: “Scotch Beef is a world-recognised brand – it is valued by consumers as a mark of quality and is delivering a premium of 20-30p per kilo back to the industry. That is something worth protecting, but we will only do that if we collaborate as a Scottish industry and keep control of our brand.”
Cow numbers are down by 20 per cent on 1997, he said.
“We need a blueprint that will help build cow numbers and sustain beef production in the long run.
“We need to help herds with their profitability and efficiency, provide our plants with the right kind of animals to optimise processing, and have a system in place that feeds information on carcase quality, meat-eating quality and animal health back to the farm gate.
He added: “Improving communication between the consumer, the processor, the market and the producer will be key to the future well-being and development of the Scotch Beef brand.”
The meeting, from 7-9.30pm at The Lodge, Carfraemill, will also cover CAP reform in relation to livestock, the EU roadmap on cattle EID, cattle scab and the potential for vaccination against Schmallenberg virus and copies of the draft Blueprint for Beef will be available on request.
Meanwhile, this morning, livestock and arable farmers are learning how to deal with the year’s soil structure problems at a seminar at Upper Nisbet, near Jedburgh.
SRUC specialist Bruce Ball is giving producers guidance on how to recognise what problems their soil has at what depth and help them decide what to do about it.
NFU Scotland’s Borders manager Nina Clancy welcomed today’s workshop: “All farmers are facing difficulties with water logged soil, poaching and compaction. The Borders area has received more than double its annual rainfall this year. These conditions are unprecedented. Many farmers will be at a loss as to what they can do to restore the soil structure and ensure productivity for the future. In certain circumstances, if nothing is done, next year’s harvest and grass production will be severely hit. This event has come at an ideal time.”
Dr Ball will also talk about initial results of a soil project SRUC is running with Dairy Co on the impacts and remediation of soil compaction.
The consultant with 35 years’ experience will show farmers how to visually assess their soils for problems and demonstrate using a pressure gauge on fields to indicate where any compaction is.
Dr Ball has produced a leaflet on the issue (www.sruc.ac.uk/downloads/file/132/practical_guide-assess_your_soil_structure) which will also be available today.