The new Scottish Cattle Industry Group established by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has identified benchmarking as a priority at its first meeting in Stirling.
The group has been established to work closely with QMS to provide feedback, advice and guidance to ensure the organisation’s cattle-related projects are sharply focused on grassroots industry needs to maximise benefits for the Scottish cattle industry.
Borders farmer Andrew Elliot, who is based at Blackhaugh near Galashiels, has been appointed as chairman of the new group. Mr Elliott runs 220 cows, of which half are pedigree Aberdeen Angus, and over 4,500 ewes on four hill and upland units.
As well as discussions around the current QMS activity plan for cattle-related work, the group has suggested QMS works on management systems with a focus on producing the optimum specification of cattle for the different markets that exist within Scotland. The group also emphasised the need for a greater uptake of benchmarking to take place within the industry.
Scottish Cattle Industry Group Chairman Andrew Elliot said: “The first meeting has been a really positive start for our group. We have a good range of group members covering all parts of the industry.
“A clear priority identified at our first meeting is the need for adequate benchmarking of cattle businesses to take place to ensure farmers can focus on the right parts of their businesses to drive efficiency.
“We are planning to help deliver that by establishing various groups across the country through our ‘Focus on Figures’ project, one of the main outputs of which we hope will be a benchmarking tool for wider use by the whole industry.”
The group will hold regular meetings throughout the year. QMS has similar groups which focus on sheep and pigs.
Caption: Some of the members of the new group – back row from left Andrew Baillie, Mike Martin, Robert Fleming, Michael Shannon, Stephen Allardyce, Donald Brown, Robert Gilchrist and John Sproat. In the foreground are QMS chairman, Jim McLaren, and Scottish Cattle Industry Group chairman Andrew Elliott.