BETTER beef production from the dairy herd will be highlighted at this year's NBA Beef Expo.

Held at Hexham mart on Thursday, May 22, a "Beef from the Dairy Herd" showcase will demonstrate the increasingly important role that dairy bred livestock play.

It will include stock from R Ridley & Sons of Mickley Moore Farm, near Prudhoe, who's dairy herd provides a sound base for the suckler cow herd.

Bull beef will be displayed and dairy based continental heifers and calves, two Limousin cross heifers with three-quarter bred Limousin cross calves, bred for milk and efficiency.

Improving beef production can give better returns to dairy farmers. Chris Mallon, NBA chief executive, said today's technology makes it possible to be selective to achieve the best possible results from breeding, and therefore the best financial results for the farm.

He said: "You can select the cows you want to produce dairy cows from and use sexed semen on them. By using beef bull semen on the others to produce a high quality beef animal, you will end up with an animal worth maybe £150 more than a dairy bull calf.

"And by finishing the culled cows properly it will increase the returns by maybe £60 - £80 per head, while helping to produce meat for the British processing sector.

"Processed beef produced this way carries the Red Tractor showing it is of British origin, and this helps prevent beef from dubious origins getting into the UK food chain."

Producing beef from the dairy herd is becoming increasingly important to the entire British Beef industry. More than half of Britain's beef now comes from the dairy sector, which is helping to shore up the ongoing decline in the suckler herd.

Mr Mallon said: "Dairy herd produced beef is widely forecast to play an ever-stronger role in maintaining the critical mass necessary for the British Beef industry to exist."

XLVets will advise on managing the health of dairy beef calves from birth through to finishing, and on buying-in calves to rear as part of its national BVD free campaign.

An Eblex Beef from the Dairy Herd area will have information on breeding, health, feeding, EID and performance of crossbred cattle.

Specialist systems for rearing different dairy-produced beef calves, including rose veal, pure dairy or bull beef produced calves, will also feature.

Mr Mallon said: "Although the suckler and the pure beef are the ideal, the British beef sector needs the dairy input for the British beef industry to be successful."