Genus ABS, the UK’s leading supplier of beef genetics and the ABP Food Group (ABP), one of the largest beef processors in Europe have collaborated to deliver better efficiencies from the beef supply chain and higher quality beef through a partnership called BeefConnect®.
BeefConnect® involves farmers using Genus ABS Aberdeen Angus beef sires on lower end dairy cows to produce beef-cross calves. The calves are reared on farm following best practice protocol and then collected by ABP at between 10 – 35 days old and then moved to a dedicated ABP rearing unit through ABP’s integrated beef farming business Blade Farming.
Participating farmers will benefit from more competitive prices and a simpler way of moving calves off farm whilst having access to top quality, mainly British bred sires.
ABP will provide Genus ABS with information on animal performance and other factors that affect the price received and potential margin for beef finishers. Genus ABS will then use this data to make better bull selection decisions, allowing beef farmers to select sires with better growth performance and carcass quality; factors which have the potential to improve the efficiency and profitability of beef finishing in Britain.
BeefConnect® is currently available to farmers in Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, with intention to expand further across the UK.
The key benefits of BeefConnect® include:
- Price agreed on farm for your Angus calves
- No market commission payments
- Fast payment via BACS
- Collection of calves from as young as 10 days old
- Drop your calves off at dedicated BeefConnect collection centres (avoiding market charges), alternatively calves can be collected from farm
- Access to significant support and knowledge from the BeefConnect® team.
Calf collection follows a simple, three-step process each weeek:
- If you have calves that you would like to sell, text or call ABP with the calf quantity.
- ABP will agree a collection date and time with you and inform you of the calf price for that week.
- ABP arrive on farm to weigh the calves. Those meeting the specification are then purchased and then taken to a dedicated rearing unit.
*Alternatively, calves may be taken to an ABP collection centre (for which there is no charge) where they will be weighed and purchased.
Calf specification overview:
- Calves must meet the minimum weight requirements for their age.
- Calves must have two matching ear tags.
- Must be between 10 and 35 days old on the day of collection.
- The animal must not be suffering from infection or disease.
- The sire must be recorded on the calf passport.
Anna Hughes is the Genus ABS BeefConnect® Development ManagerAnna Hughes is responsible for overseeing the development of BeefConnect® across the UK. Having grown up on a dairy farm and later going on to run her own pedigree Hereford herd, Anna has vast experience in the agricultural industry. During her gap year she spent six months working at a 12,000 cow beef station in Australia, an experience that Anna found challenging and rewarding in equal measure. Anna also holds a Certificate in Education and prior to joining Genus ABS, lectured at one of the UK’s leading agricultural colleges.
“Our focus is to get calves off farm as soon as possible, and through BeefConnect® we have been able to clear calves from as young as 10 days old for good prices. We have topped our local livestock market with blue calves making almost £400 on several occasions, however with the Angus calves we can get them off farm a lot quicker saving time, feed and bedding. This is a great advantage to us particularly in the winter. Rearing blues in the winter we would have to carry them until they are 3-4 weeks to get a good price and it is simply impractical and demands more cash to get them there. During the winter space is normally pretty tight so we really appreciate the BeefConnect scheme. We find our local markets can vary from week to week but with BeefConnect®, we know the guaranteed price at the start of the week and over the past 6 months the prices paid have hardly changed.”
Ben Oakley, Wirswall Farm, 170 cows, Shropshire.
“BeefConnect® is a really simple scheme and it has fitted really well into our system. I inform my local BeefConnect® rep if I have any calves ready to sell that week and they arrange a day that suits me to come and weigh and purchase them off farm, saving me the time of travelling to market. I have formed a really good relationship with the calf collector and if any calves fail to meet the weights required, they always make an effort to come back the following week when calves have gained an extra few kilos provided they are still within the age spec. Calf prices have been really stable, I get a weekly text with the guaranteed price for the week, and by having a rough idea of my calf weights beforehand, I know exactly what my calf income will be at the end of the week which is great for me.”
Neil Goodwin, The Royals, 180 dairy cows.
“Since I started supplying BeefConnec®t the greatest benefit to me has been the consistent prices that are paid. A few years ago I used to use British Blue sires and sell the calves at market, but the prices were always changing from week to week and I would lose money through market fees. Despite receiving fair prices for the blue calves I had a few difficult calvings to deal with. With the Angus, I can now put the cows into our orchard overnight, safe in the knowledge that they will calve without any assistance. Another great benefit is the short gestation period for Angus, this has allowed me to get cows back into milk a lot quicker and I can make a fairly good forecast of the income that the calves will generate in future months.”
Peter Hickson – Kilhendre Farm, 180 cows.
Some of your Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Will I know before selling my calves how much I will get paid for them?
A. Yes. If you contact ABP to notify them that you have calves to sell, they will then send you a text message confirming the prices paid for calves that week, based on their weight.
Q. Do I have to pay a commission like at the market?
A. No – there are no commission fees.
Q. Is there an incentive for using Genus ABS sires?
A. The first 50 calves sired by a Genus ABS endorsed sire and collected by BeefConnect® will receive a premium of £20 per calf. The sire must be recorded in the calf passport.
Q. One of my calves did not fulfil the specification this week, what should I do?
A. Speak to your BeefConnect® representative. If a calf failed to meet the weight requirement, calf collection can often be rearranged for the following week if the calf then meets the specified weight and age requirements.
For further information, please download our BeefConnect® leaflet below.
If you would like further information about BeefConnect® please contact your local Genus ABS representative or contact our BeefConnect® Development Manager, Anna Hughes by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
For terms and conditions of our latest BeefConnect® competition on Facebook, please click here.
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