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Suckler Cow Herds and CAP review
Unwise words from the MLC
(Filed 29 July 03)
Writing in the Summer issue of Beef
Farmer, the Journal of the National Beef Association (NBA), MLC's
Duncan Pullar and Duncan Sinclair would have us believe that the
likely way forward is it use an "easy-care" suckler cow
that requires a very limited management input from a stockman (1).
Sadly this reflects the continuing
preference on the part of the MLC to promote the commodity beef
market - a preference that directly and indirectly is doing much
damage to the UK suckler herd. Over the years the MLC seem to have
remained deaf to the cries that there is an overabundance of cheap
commodity beef in the world and which already floods into the UK.
What is surely required is branded
quality beef that eats well - in terms of tenderness and taste -
geared to specific markets. Efforts should be focused on the full
re-opening of the export market envisaged by the Chief Executive
of the NBA Robert Forster, in the autumn of 2004 (2).
The MLC are certainly not helping
in this with the stagnation of their Estimated Beef Value (EBV)
system that they operate in conjunction with Signet. As Land-Care
understands it, the MLC are asking for absurd costs to act as an
unnecessary and inefficient intermediary between the operators of
BREEDPLAN in Australia and the relevant cattle breed societies in
As discussed elsewhere in Land-Care
(3, 4, 5, 6)
a number of breeders, both pedigree and commercial, are highly frustrated
with the continuing poor performance of the MLC in its failure to
facilitate the production of quality beef that is geared to what
the customer wants - something that is worth paying good money for
on account of its reliability in terms of taste and tenderness.
However, efforts to produce quality
beef as seen in the consumer's eyes (rather than the eyes of those
who finish cattle for muscle bulk) will only be worthwhile if the
efforts of DEFRA and SEERAD are much more effective than hitherto
at preventing further catastrophic outbreaks of disease. Herein
lies further substantial uncertainty.
1. Pullar, Duncan
and Sinclair, Duncan (2003). Planning for change.
Beef Farmer, Summer 2003; p3
2. Forster, Robert
(2003). From the chief executive.
Beef Farmer, Summer 2003: p4
3. Sundstrom, Brian
(2002). Breedplan - Australian Based International Beef Cattle Genetic
(Filed 2002, www.land-care.org.uk,
click here to
4. Editorial (2003).
Have Signet and the MLC muscled in on Breedplan?
(Filed 5th May 2003, www,land-care.org.uk, Click
here to view)
5. Groom, Robert
(2003). Letter from America by Expatriate Scot AA Breeder.
(Filed 9 April 2003, www.land-care.org.uk,
here to view).
6. Irvine, James
(2003). Future pedigree breeding of cattle: QMS meeting Monday 26th
(Filed 6th June 2003, www.land-care.org.uk, Click
here to view)