AHDB Beef & Lamb e-news
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Will Jackson, AHDB Divisional Director for Engagement


I’m delighted to be back in the position of leading on the strategy for the AHDB Beef & Lamb team. In my new role as Divisional Director for Engagement, I will be helping support the beef and lamb team to ensure we are delivering for levy payers. At this pivotal time for the organisation and for the sector, I am driven by the passion from my team and their enthusiasm to deliver a first-class service that is fit for purpose and which will ensure you, our levy payers, get the support you need from AHDB.

This month we have welcomed our new CEO Tim Rycroft, who has hit the ground running and full of excitement to be with AHDB. You can read more about Tim on the AHDB website, he has been spending quite a bit of his first few weeks out and about on farm meeting levy payers.

We are currently finalising the details for the vote next spring, which will provide you with the opportunity to have your say on what work we do and which products and services we deliver. We plan to open registrations to vote in November and I would encourage as many of you as possible to get signed up to have your say. We will be talking extensively about this over the next few months.
In other activity, we are working on the new Farm Business Review service which is set to help 4,000 farmers and growers in England to plan and prepare for their future. The free, independent service offers a combination of an online self-assessment tool, expert advice and peer support to help businesses prepare for the biggest agricultural policy shift in a generation.
Finally, for those of you who are keen to learn from some of the farmers we work with, we have a range of events this month and next. These include old and new Strategic Farmers and our Challenge Sheep farmers. Take a look at our events page to find one near you.

Keep safe and best wishes
Will Jackson
Divisional Director - Engagement

UK Ministers appoint Colin Bateman as the new Beef & Lamb main board member

The Government has appointed five new main board members to AHDB, including four levy payers. Colin Bateman has been appointed as the new beef and lamb main board member. He is a commercial upland livestock producer, with more than 25 years’ experience in the beef and lamb sector. Colin has been an AHDB Beef & Lamb sector board member since 2019. Read more.

AHDB's £3.5m We Eat Balanced campaign returns

Our successful We Eat Balanced consumer campaign is back, as new research shows farmers are getting better at telling the story about the food they produce. With 53% of people surveyed saying farmers are improving their communication skills, we have enlisted the help of a network of 100 farmers to help promote and share We Eat Balanced messaging on social media during the first part of the £3.5m campaign running through autumn and into the New Year. Read more.

Consumer views of trade deals

Since the UK exited the EU, new and potential trade deals have been highlighted in the news, often featuring negative headlines, such as lower animal welfare standards and the use of EU banned pesticides in food production overseas. But what do UK consumers really think, and are they likely to buy these imported products if they made it into our supermarkets and restaurants? Read more.

AHDB to wind down the Quality Standard Mark Scheme (QSM)

AHDB is to close its Quality Standard Mark Scheme (QSM) for Beef and Lamb next March (2022). The Scheme, which is fully funded by AHDB, was launched in 2004 and is based on existing assurance schemes. It includes requirements which have a positive impact on meat quality such as age specifications for cattle and sheep and maturation times. Read more.

Review your farm business

With reductions in BPS payments beginning this year, taking a wait-and-see approach isn’t an option for farmers who rely on this income. AHDB’s Farm Business Review service, funded by the Defra Future Farming Resilience Fund, is designed to help those most affected by the move away from direct payments prepare for the biggest agricultural policy shift in a generation. Find out more.

Industry news

The countdown is on for this year’s Sheep Breeders Round Table

There are just weeks to go until the 2021 Sheep Breeders Round Table (SBRT).The online conference takes place between Monday 15 and Friday 19 November. Being online this year, it will allow a wide audience to benefit from a range of high-quality speakers from around the globe who will talk us through different aspects of breeding sheep fit for the future.  It is easy to register for free for any (or all) six sessions by heading to the website. Take a look.


Giving farmers confidence to bust methane myths in the lead up to COP26

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) have collaborated in the lead up to COP26 on a new myth-busting toolkit to empower farmers to kick-start positive conversations around red meat. The toolkit, which is available to download from the AHDB website, includes responses to some of the biggest myths plaguing UK agriculture such as methane emissions, water usage, grazing, land use and red meat consumption. Find out more.


Market prices

Lamb market update

Lack of British lambs available puts the breaks on price pressure. In the latest video on lamb prices, AHDB livestock analyst Rebecca Wright talks about the current challenges facing the British lamb supply chain. Watch here.

Beef market update

Prime cattle prices remain buoyant despite supply chain challenges. In the latest video on beef prices, AHDB livestock analyst Chris Gooderham talks about the UK beef market, prices, production and trade. Watch here.


Retail and consumer insight

AHDB explore the changing consumer landscape for industry

With the consumer landscape continuing to change following Covid-19, AHDB will be taking an in-depth look at what that means for levy-payers in a series of webinars. Analysts in the Retail and Consumer Insight team will provide valuable insight into the hot topics facing the red meat and dairy sectors, in three webinars running in October and November. As well as exploring how the pandemic has affected demand, they will look at how consumer views around reputational factors, such as Buying British, health and the environment as well as animal welfare and trust in the industry, have evolved in the last year. Read more.


Better Returns

Iceberg diseases of ewes

This manual provides a concise reference guide to five infectious diseases of sheep that members of the sheep industry have identified as important: Border disease (BD), caseous lymphadenitis (CLA),

Maedi Visna (MV), ovine paratuberculosis or ovine Johne’s disease (OJD) and ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma (OPA). However, awareness of these diseases is low, with a recent survey suggesting fewer than 5% of farmers screen for them routinely. Read more.


Use maternal traits to boost profits in the suckler herd

The AHDB Maternal Matters campaign aims to highlight the connection between maternal performance and profitability in the suckler herd.

The campaign focuses on two key areas of maternal performance: age at first calving and fertility. The two-year campaign will provide tools and information on replacement heifer breeding and development to optimise female lifetime fertility. We will follow normal heifer development practices, from selecting stock to breed replacements through to the management of first calvers. Read more.
Listen to a podcast on AHDB’s We Eat Balanced and Love Lamb Week marketing campaigns.

Beef & Lamb events

Dorset Strategic Farm: Project successes, future plans and farewells

Date: Thursday 7 October

Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Book now

Gloucestershire Strategic Farm: Project successes, future plans and farewells

Date: Tuesday 12 October

Time: 11:00am – 4:00pm

Book now

AHDB Challenge Sheep: How to integrate sheep into arable rotations (Nottinghamshire)

Date: Wednesday 13 October

Time: 2:00pm – 4:30pm

Book now

Cheshire Strategic Farm: Project successes, future plans and farewells

Date: Thursday 14 October

Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Book now

Devon Strategic Farm: Project successes, future plans and farewells

Date: Tuesday 19 October

Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Book now

AHDB Challenge Sheep: Testing for anthelmintic resistance

Date: Tuesday 2 November

Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Book now

Devon Strategic Farm: Flock nutrition and management decisions
Date: Tuesday 9 November
Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Nottinghamshire Strategic Farm: Project successes, future plans and farewells

Date: Thursday 11 November

Time: 10:30am – 3:00pm

Book now

Beef & Lamb webinars

Introducing cattle into arable rotations to ‘beef’ up the profit margin

Date: Monday 18 October

Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book now

AHDB Retail & Consumer Insight - Meat Market Landscape

Date: Thursday 21 October

Time: 10:00am – 11:00am

Book now