Leading meat processor, Dunbia has hosted producers from The Co-operative Food’s Hereford Foundation Group at a series of live to dead events at its primary beef plants in Sawley and Dungannon.
Fifty Hereford farmers visited Dunbia over four days to get an understanding of the livestock selection process and the implications to farmers of presenting an out of spec animal.
Kenny Linton, agriculture manager for Dunbia welcomed the Co-operative Food farmers to the plant: “The live to dead events are an important tool for educating our industry of the livestock selection process.
“Producing beef that meets customer requirements and specification for taste, tenderness and value for money in addition to provenance and traceability is a critical part of the beef selection process. We are delighted to work with the Co-operative Food to highlight the processes and staff required to achieve a product suitable for retail.”
During the event, cattle were selected for live assessment in the lairage. Each participant recorded their grade and estimated carcase weight which was then compared when the cattle reached the chillers.
The event which was delivered by Steve Powdrill from AHDB Beef & Lamb and supported by Dunbia staff, was very well received by the Co-operative and their farmers. Mr Will Jackson, Co-operative Food agricultural development manager commented: “The future of the beef industry depends on closer co-operation of the supply chain to ensure long-term sustainability and profitability for all. The Live to Dead event at Dunbia has been an excellent example of this in practice. Our Hereford producers are among the best in the UK and are very keen to work with the processor and retailer to develop relationships and improve performance. They have all left Dunbia with a better understanding of what the processor, retailer and consumer want.”
Among the farmers was Steve Jones who supplies the Co-operative Truly Irresistible Hereford Range through Dunbia.
“Our visit to Dunbia has been fascinating and has really emphasised the importance of developing closer partnerships with the processor and retailer. The supply chain has to work together and understand each other to ensure that our beef industry is sustainable in the long-term,” he said.