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The UK’s beef industry is ever changing with customers becoming more selective when deciding which protein items to buy. We at Buitelaar have noticed the importance of traceability, provenance, sustainability and of course eating quality. We recently noticed an article by Mr Mallon and Simon Marsh, beef cattle specialists at Harper Adams who outlines a few key benefits of young beef.

1. Lower eating quality

There is a wealth of evidence to support the rearing of young bulls, says Mr Marsh.

“In fact, a recent study with Stabiliser bulls slaughtered at 14 months showed improved meat tenderness compared with extensively reared steers.”

2. The environment will suffer

Not only is the entire male calf more efficient, but bull beef production systems, especially from the suckler herd, have the lowest carbon footprint and therefore the smallest effect on the environment, says Mr Marsh.

“Bull beef from suckler-bred calves can efficiently produce a 350-400kg carcass at under 14 months old.”

3. Beef farmers will be forced to reduce output

Last year, 20.1% of male calves were reared as bulls, so the decision taken by some abattoirs to stop procuring young beef will potentially affect a lot of beef producers.

If producers have to adopt extensive production systems this will reduce output, says Mr Marsh.

4. Suckler herds will decline further

If farmers are forced to become more extensive (by keeping cattle for longer), cow numbers will have to decline along with slaughter numbers.

“If Tesco as a retailer and its processors do not use young beef bulls, it could potentially kill off 50% of the suckler herd. There is no remaining efficient way for these cattle to be finished,” explains Mr Mallon.

5. It will lead to an increase in beef prices

Fewer cattle will mean less beef. Ultimately, this will result in a rise in beef prices that the British public will not appreciate, adds Mr Mallon.

The interesting points were included in the following article sourced from the Farmers Weekly Young Beef Advantages.