Supply chain links crucial in securing future of Welsh Beef

Supply chain links crucial in securing future of Welsh Beef

A major study commissioned by HCC into the state of the beef sector has concluded that close cooperation between all links in the supply chain, coupled with a fully coordinated partnership between the industry and the Welsh Government, is the best way to secure a viable future for the Welsh Beef industry.

The independent report was commissioned by HCC earlier this year when a fall in market prices led to very low profitability. The conclusions of the study, carried out on behalf of HCC by SAC Consulting, were published during a meeting in Cardiff chaired by the deputy minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans AM.

Consumer demand must dictate production

The report, produced by SAC Consulting, makes it clear that consumer demand must dictate production, not the other way round, and that HCC is in an ideal position to bring together all the various interested factions to coordinate a strategy that will benefit everyone.

“The Welsh beef industry needs a far better understanding of the consumer markets,” stated the report. “By appreciating the cuts of beef required, the industry can better organise how to produce and supply that beef.”

Gwyn Howells Chief Ececutive Hybu Cig Cymru.

Gwyn Howells: “I welcome the conclusions of this independent report”.

Key recommendations in the report include:

• The herd would produce suckled calves, stores and breeding stock that farmers outside Wales could buy at a premium and with confidence.
• The dairy herd could make a greater contribution. Given the relatively small size of Welsh drystock farms, dairy beef is a far more efficient way of converting pasture dry matter into beef.
• Greater coordination and collaboration through many competing supply chains that drive better performance from all involved, with livestock auctioneers playing an important role in the movement of stock through these chains.
• A central information system for Wales that captures key performance indicators that can be used for a host of strategically important indicators.
• Delivering environmental benefits, through the Glastir scheme that better rewards suckler cows for their environmental contribution, together with a common approach to carbon footprinting that highlights the sustainability of Welsh production and gives consumers added confidence in Welsh Beef.
• Improving the genetic qualities and health of beef cattle will boost the profitability of individual businesses.
• Beef margins must be lifted to compete with sheep, dairying and dairy support enterprises. The carcase grading system needs to be reviewed so that it is fair and fit for purpose.

HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells said: “I welcome the conclusions of this independent report which provides the industry with a valuable guide to what actions are needed to support a long term and viable future for the beef sector in Wales.

“HCC is keen to play its part in helping to coordinate and shape the future direction of the Welsh beef sector, in partnership with the Welsh government and in full consultation and with the cooperation of farmers, auctioneers, processors and retailers.”

A full copy of the report, ‘A Review of the Beef Sector in Wales’, can be found on the HCC website.

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