New Project to Identify Best Practice for Larger Beef Finishing Units

UK - AHDB Beef & Lamb has commissioned a three-year project investigating the health, welfare and performance of beef cattle on larger finishing units in England.
calendar icon 18 May 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

The project, which will be delivered by researchers from Westpoint Veterinary Group and SAC Consulting, aims to build on the current understanding of modern finishing systems and provide deeper insight into factors determining performance.

The project will focus on identifying innovations and best practice on larger beef finishing systems. The results will allow English systems to be benchmarked against those seen in the main beef-producing regions of the world.

“Demand for red meat is forecast to increase over the coming years, so beef supply chains will need to increase production to meet this need,” said Dr Mary Vickers, AHDB senior livestock scientist and project manager.

“Beef producers must also be responsive to mounting consumer interest and expectations on how their food is produced, along with sensitive issues relating to farming systems and production, such as animal welfare and climate change.

“To date, there has been little research conducted to compare finishing systems and investigate the impact that the type of finishing unit has on the performance, health and welfare of cattle.”

A number of beef finishing units are needed to take part in a survey as part of the project.

Suitable farms must have at least 200 finishing places and would be expected to welcome a member of the project team to their unit. During the visit, information will be collected on factors likely to influence cattle health, welfare and performance.

Each farm will receive a copy of the information and a final report so that they can benchmark themselves against others. Where areas of an enterprise that may benefit from implementing current best practices are identified, individual recommendations will be provided.

Findings from the project will be communicated to the wider industry, so that best practices identified can be implemented across other finishing units.

Dr Lindsay Heasman, project manager added: “Results from the project will improve our understanding of factors affecting cattle health, welfare and production on large finishing units and benchmark our finishing systems against those overseas.”

Beef finishers interested in taking part in the project can email Dr Lindsay Heasman, project leader, or call 07912 799961.

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