RECORD numbers of ex-hibitors and competition entrants and over 4,000 visitors headed to J36 Rural Auction Centre, Cumbria, on May 23 to celebrate the strength and resilience of the British beef industry, at the National Beef Association’s Beef Expo 2019.
The industry sent a strong message out on environmental sustainability, the need to change and evolve to consumer demands, with a focus on quality and provenance.
Over 140 trade stands and breed societies displayed the latest developments and technology within the sector, attracting visitors from across the country, including a large contingent from the Northern Ireland branch of the NBA.
The themes of consistency, productivity and sustainability were addressed specifically during a lively Open Discussion session on the future of the beef industry. NBA chief executive Chris Mallon and chairman Andrew Laughton were joined by Robin Manning of Defra, NFU national livestock board chairman Richard Findlay and John Geldard of L & K Group, the owners of host North West Auctions, to conduct the discussion.
The audience heard how the development of genetics is helping to both reduce greenhouse em-
issions, but also improve pro-
ductivity and ultimately profit-ability. Mr Mallon spoke of the importance of reaching out to the consumer and highlighting the environmental benefits the beef industry delivers, while maintaining a focus on quality and the supply of a niche product.
The discussion was the culmination of a full day of technical seminars covering topics including health, integrated supply chains, future proofing for success and challenges facing the industry.
A key highlight of the day was the cattle competitions, bringing in over 120 cattle entries. Overall winner was homebred pedigree Limousin heifer One and Only, from John Williams, Gwynedd. Reserve was Queen of Hearts, a homebred Limousin x heifer, from Jennifer Hyslop, Ayrshire.
Alongside this, the South Devon Performance Championship was held at the show for the third year, bringing in over 20 entries. The overall champion, collecting the Harlington Trophy, was AI Rufford Reggie, owned by RW & SM Bostelmann of Staffordshire. Reserve went to two-year-old heifer Z Cilgwrrwg Cas, from Mr R V Hartshorn of Shropshire.
The award for the best indoor stand was presented to ForFarmers, with best outdoor stand going to L M Bateman & Co. The best breed society stand went to the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society.
Chris Mallon, NBA Chief Executive, said: “We have seen a tremendous turnout for the event, following the two well attended and highly informative farm visits a day earlier. We have had some great feedback, and are particularly pleased to see the focus on productivity and profitability demonstrated by our beef farmers.”
The farm visits, hosted by the Kelly family at Netherhall Farm, and the Dixons at Kit Crag Farm, gave attendees a further insight into two family-owned, progressive beef producers in the region, and added to what was two full days of celebration of the sector.