MORE than 5,000 beef farmers and industry professionals flocked to Shrewsbury last week to the National Beef Association’s ‘Beef Up Our Future’ Beef Expo event.

The event set out to discuss the future of agriculture and explore how beef farmers can improve efficiencies on farm profit and it did not fail to deliver.

For the fourth year running, the Beef Expo farm tours were a sell out, with 270 taking part in a tour of three exceptional farms in Shropshire and Wales.

Across the three farms, there was something for everyone, with Marc Jones finishing beef from the dairy through outwintering and precision grazing, James Evans producing quality breeding stock with a key focus on measuring performance, and Jonny Cornes and family running a fantastic example of a mixed farming system.

Tractor and trailer rides took farmers round fields where grass production was maximised through precision grazing and experts spoke on topics spanning from breeding for efficiencies, to how the mixed farming model can be used to manage risk.

At the beef industry dinner, guest speaker Gareth Wyn Jones spoke of the importance of educating consumers as to how their food is produced.

The evening finished with a charity raffle in aid of muscular dystrophy, raising more than £1,000.

A selection of seminars covering health, policy and production systems ran throughout the day, including a discussion on how TB can be managed in a way that allows for production to continue.

Neil Parish, chairman of the Efra committee, and Robin Manning, team leader for Farming and Trade, Defra, took part in the Brexit seminar chaired by Chris Dodds. The seminar discussed the importance of maintaining cohesion and flexibility between the devolved governments post-Brexit.

This year, Beef Expo hosted two national cattle competitions, the NBA National Commercial Cattle Show and the South Devon National Performance Championships.

At the National Commercial Cattle Show, heifers dominated with Ayanna, a British Blue owned by Trevor, Linda and Jonny Lyon, of Bourne, Lincolnshire, winning supreme champion and champion heifer. Judge Neil Slack said: “This heifer stood out, with good lines and no waste. It was hard to fault, with good meat and a handy weight.

“The championship line-up was superb and there was not a lot between the top two.”

Bred by J Reed, of Northumberland, the 16-month British Blue cross heifer, weighing 498kg, was bought privately and is enjoying a successful show season so far, top of its class at Countryside Live, reserve champion at Woodall Spa and commercial beef champion at Newark.

Reserve male champion was a June 2017-born Limousin cross steer, Marley, owned by Wilkinson & Marwood, of Leyburn, and out of Waindale Ufo.

The South Devon Technical Performance Championships was won by AI cross Rufford Sas Quest owned by RW and SM Bostelmann. The January 2017 home-bred bull by Rufford Sas Dillion and out of AI Z Rufford Erica was on its first outing.

Judge, Mr Tully, of Brixton, Devon, said: “This was a very correct bull, smooth fleshed and beautiful balance. An excellent type which will go on to breed very well the future.”