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WCB’s latest Nuffield Scholar pointing the way ahead for British beef producers

Published on: 13 July 2020

If the UK suckler beef industry is going to survive, it must find ways of reducing costs. This is a key conclusion of Sarah Pick’s Nuffield Scholarship Report which has just been published.

Sarah was sponsored jointly by the WCB and the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. Her report goes on to indicate a key means of cost reduction which the majority of the UK industry has not adopted – yet is common place in other major beef producing countries.

She points particularly to the need for producers to manage successfully the calving of replacement heifers at two years of age. If attention is paid to nutrition, genetics and effective selection, this technique can lead to lower costs at a time when the economics of beef production is going to be under severe pressure.

During her project, Sarah visited a number of major beef producing countries including Canada, the USA and Australia; she also observed best practice in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Sarah was brought up on a beef farm in North Yorkshire; after graduating with first class honours, she spent two years working in Morrisons Supermarkets on their graduate training scheme.

Sarah Pick, the 2019 Nuffield Scholar.
Sarah Pick, the 2019 Nuffield Scholar.

She is currently working in the knowledge exchange scheme of AHDB Beef and Lamb.

Endorsing the importance of Sarah’s report, Peter Allen, Aubrey Allen Chairman and authority on beef quality, emphasised how vital it was that the UK had a thriving beef suckler herd. He commented: "Beef from the suckler herd is bred principally for good flavour and texture; furthermore, the superior flavour is the single key factor on beef commanding a premium over other sources of protein.

"The UK has the perfect conditions to grow such beef and thus compete favourably with the competition – providing good care is taken on production and marketing."

Nuffield Scholarship

You can find out about the Nuffield Scholarship in the education section of the website.

To download a copy of Sarah’s full report click the link below.

Read the report