NBA Beef Expo celebrates changing face of UK beef farming industry

Despite sector challenges, organisers are hopeful farmers will benefit from networking and advice on everything from technology to consumer demands

David Thirwell with the Stabiliser herd at JSRs Givendale Farm, which will be included in the farm tours at the NBA Beef Expo 2015
David Thirwell with the Stabiliser herd at JSRs Givendale Farm, which will be included in the farm tours at the NBA Beef Expo 2015

The future of the UK’s beef farming industry, advances in technology and the rapidly changing demands of consumers will all be high on the agenda at this year’s NBA Beef Expo.

Set to take place at York Auction Centre for the first time on Thursday, the event - an annual showcase for the sector - will feature over 380 head of cattle.

A total of 19 breed societies and around 200 trade stands will also be included at the event, which is set to attract roughly 7000 farmers, one of them being among Britain’s most famous - Adam Henson from the BBC’s Countryfile programme.

A host of seminars, competitions and demonstrations will round off a packed schedule.

Richard Tasker, chairman and partner at York Auction Centre, said: “We are very excited to be hosting NBA Beef Expo and my thanks go to a very hardworking committee and the very generous support from mainline sponsors Caltech-Crystalyx, Dunbia, EBLEX and Lloyds Bank, together with all the other sponsors of the various sections of the event.

NBA Beef Expo chairman and partner at York Auction Centre Richard Tasker
NBA Beef Expo chairman and partner at York Auction Centre Richard Tasker

“We have put together a fantastic programme which I believe will be of interest and enjoyed by everyone in the beef industry right through to the end consumer.

“It is definitely an event not to be missed. Beef Expo is designed to help all of us meet the many challenges in the beef industry and to give the opportunity to network, meet new customers, learn about new technology and developments and take home new ideas and enthusiasm.”

The event kicks off on Wednesday, with farm tours designed to highlight the immense diversity of beef farming in the Yorkshire Wolds.

Those taking part will include The Millington Grange Estate, home of the famous Millington Limousin Herd; JSR Farm, home to both the Givendale Herd and the Beef Improvement Group’s Net Efficiency Unit; and GD Stephenson & Sons Ltd, where a 200-strong commercial Suckler herd of Limousin Cross, Salers Cross and South Devon Cross cows can be found.

Also set to be extremely popular is the £5,000 prize-funded National Spring Spectacular Show (NSSS), which will feature 152 head of cattle across 15 classes.

A total of 27 new exhibitors will be taking part and five auctioneers have entered a new challenge designed to test their cattle handling skills.

Chris Mallon, chief executive of the NBA
Chris Mallon, chief executive of the NBA

The judges, meanwhile, will be top Scottish beef breeders, Wilson Peters - who will oversee the Native and Continental classes as well as the Supreme Championship - and Craig Robertson, who will have responsibility for the Baby Beef Champions and Young Handlers classes.

This year’s expo will likewise see the launch of The Future Beef Farmer Challenge.

Initiated by the NBA, this contest, which caters for both teams and individuals, is aimed at testing the skills, knowledge and abilities of young beef farmers.

Run in association with EBLEX, the Charolais Cattle Society, XL Vets and Thompsons of York, it will see entrants face four challenges in which they will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of breeding and genetics, cattle health, nutrition and cattle selection for slaughter.

Ripon Farm Services will be looking after machinery demonstrations with a focus on grassland management, while Bishopton Veterinary Group will be running workshops on foot trimming and pneumonia prevention.

Peter Jones Livestock Ltd will also provide a demonstration based on the concept of beef from the dairy herd, paving the way for a first-time showcase for organic stock from the Organic Livestock Marketing Cooperative.

Chris Mallon, national director of the Hexham-based National Beef Association (NBA) said: “Organics represent a significant part of the industry, which has a major presence in the market place.

“NBA Beef Expo is an all-encompassing event and we are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase this element.”

NBA chairman David Thomlinson
NBA chairman David Thomlinson

Throughout the day, many organisations, from EBLEX to Farmer Green Auctions, will be launching new products and services and, with technology becoming considerably more affordable and usable, three seminars will be held to demonstrate how it can be integrated, save time and money, and ultimately resolve problems.

Each delivered by experts in their fields, these will be entitled: EID benefits to the Beef Industry; VIA [Video Imaging Analysis] the Future of Grading; and Remote Cattle Management.

Over 150 trade stands, meanwhile, will be providing the latest information on genetics, breeding, nutrition and technical developments, while Asda will be running a presentation called Meeting the Changing Lifestyle of Today’s Consumer, designed to get beef farmers in touch with end users’ expectations.

This will include a butchery competition and demonstration, as well as a cookery expo from Steph Moon, a celebrity chef and consultant from Yorkshire.

NBA chairman David Thomlinson said: “This years’ Beef Expo will showcase the best that British beef has to offer with top quality cattle on show and exhibitors providing advice on best practice.

“I am confident in the future of our industry as I am confident that with proper clearly identifiable labelling the British consumer will make the choice to buy locally produced high quality beef.

“The aim of this event is to show how good we are at producing quality beef and the future possibilities using technology to improve what we do.”

Programme of Events

Wednesday, May 20

9:15am – 4:05pm Farm Tours

Thursday, May 21

9am Event opens to public

9am – 4pm National Spring Spectacular Show of cattle judging

9am – 5pm Beef from the Dairy Herd & Organic Beef Demonstration area open to the public

9am – 10am Judging of Best Beef Breed Society, Trade indoor and outdoor stands

9am – 2pm Future Beef farmer Challenge Competition

10am – 10:20am Foot trimming workshop including video demonstration (in Trade Stand marquee)

10.30am – 12.15am Working Machinery Demonstrations (Grass Paddock)

11am - 11:45am Seminar – EID Benefits the Beef Industry (Cattle Sale Ring)

11am – 12.30am Changing Lifestyle of Today’s Consumer

Noon – 12.45pm Seminar – VIA The Future of Grading (Cattle Sale Ring)

12.30pm – 12.50pm Pneumonia Prevention Workshop (In Trade Stand Marquee)

1pm – 1:45pm Seminar – Remote Cattle Management – Advances in cattle Management (Cattle Sale Ring)

1:30pm – 3.30pm Working Machinery Demonstrations (Grass Paddock)

2pm – 2:20pm Foot trimming workshop including video demonstration (In Trade Stand Marquee)

2pm – 3:15pm Changing Lifestyle of Today’s Consumer

3pm Future Farmers Challenge & Stockjudging Competition’s Award Ceremony (Cattle Sale Ring)

3:30pm – 3:50pm Pneumonia Prevention Workshop (In Trade Stand Marquee)

5pm Event closes to public


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