Eblex E-News April 2012

By Suffolk Sheep Society 2nd April, 2012

Welcome, Enhanced Quality Standard Mark offers improved returns for producers, Speakers named for Outlook Conference 2012 and EBLEX support helps boost numbers of CT-assessed lambs

If nothing else, the Chancellor's Budget Statement underlined what we in the industry have known for a long time - the English red meat industry is crucial to the economy making a swift recovery.  A report commissioned by EBLEX, the REal Value of English Red Meat Economic Analysis, has revealved that a thriving English red meat industry makes a net contribution of £1.67 billion to the economy.  Other significant findings included that the English economy would lose £906 million in contributuins to employment alone if the red meat sector became unsuitable.  Of the 96,000 people directly employed by the industry (91,000 in rural areas) just over 20 per cent (20,256) would face unemployment if the English red meat sector was to cease.  The demand created by farming allied industries currently helps support an additional 772,998 jobs.

Clearly, the figures speak for themselves and with economic growth and job creation high on the agends, a thriving English red meat sector's contributuion, in terms of value added to the economy and contribution to employment levels is clear.  The sector is ideally place to deliver significant economic growth, and now is the time to throw support behind an industry that can make such positive contribution to our collective future.

Nick Allen
Sector Director

Enhanced Quality Standard Mark offers improved returns for producers

EBLEX has unveiled an enhanced Quality Standard Mark scheme for beef and lamb, offering guaranteed eating quality, tighter specifications and improved efficiency.

Following extensive consultation with the industry, the Quality Standard Mark scheme specifications have been strengthened to add value throughout the supply chain. The new specifications, which will come into effect on 6 August, cover animal age, carcase classifications and maturation, which combine to guarantee eating quality.

For producers, the revised specifications raise the prospect of better farm gate prices for animals reared within the scheme. The eating quality and consistency requirements will also enhance consumer confidence in Quality Standard Mark beef and lamb.

Laura Bishop, marketing manager (Quality Schemes), EBLEX said: “The Quality Standard Mark scheme for beef and lamb provides one of the highest levels of independently inspected quality assurance for meat in the United Kingdom.

“The new standards will elevate the scheme even further, making it a win-win situation for everyone in the beef and lamb supply chain.”

Nick Allen, EBLEX sector director, said: “In the current economic climate, quality and value for money are becoming an increasing priority for consumers.

“The steps we have taken to revise the Quality Standard Mark scheme will address this demand and ensure that producers rearing animals within the assured supply chain see a clear benefit in their returns.”

The Quality Standard Mark currently appears on more than a quarter of the beef and lamb products sold at retail. All major multiple retailers are members of the scheme along with most of the major processors, wholesalers, catering butchers and approximately 1,800 independent retailers. There are currently more than 18,000 outlets stocking or serving Quality Standard Mark beef or lamb.

Speakers named for Outlook Conference 2012

The economic climate and consumer spending trends will be the focus of keynote speeches at this year’s Outlook conference.

Jointly hosted by the BPEX, DairyCo and EBLEX divisions of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the event will take place on May 2 at One Great George Street, Westminster, and is being held to highlight economic and market information that affects them all, as well as having sector specific forecasting sessions looking at the coming months.

Allan Wilkinson, head of agriculture at HSBC will look at the current economic climate, while consumer trends and the drivers of spending will be examined by Giles Quick, director of Kantar Worldpanel. AHDB Market Intelligence director Ken Boyns will look at the longer term prospects for agriculture.

This will be followed by breakout sessions which will examine in greater detail the market outlook for the cattle, sheep, pig and dairy sectors.

“Outlook remains an important date in the red meat industry diary and will provide delegates with the opportunity to express views and explore key issues relating to their respective sectors,” said David Swales, market specialist manager with AHDB market intelligence.

“It will equip delegates with relevant information on which to make sound business decisions as we move forward in 2012.”
To receive more booking information, please email 


There is also an Outlook conference section on the EBLEX website where information will appear as soon as it is available. You can find it at


EBLEX support helps boost numbers of CT-assessed lambs

Support from EBLEX has helped lead to a 60 per cent increase in the number of English lambs being assessed using Computed Tomography (CT).

Figures for 2011 revealed 449 of the country’s leading Suffolk, Texel, Charollais, Hampshire Down, Meatlinc and Beltex ram lambs were scanned at the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) CT unit, compared to 279 in 2010. CT identifies superior genetics in terminal sire flocks, increasing the accuracy of measuring carcase composition. The welfare-friendly way of assessing total muscle, fat and bone yield in a live sheep can also be used to measure muscling in different parts of the carcase.

The system increases the accuracy of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) produced for growth and carcase traits and CT images can be used to help with the marketing of recorded lambs. Ultimately, it results in faster genetic gains in pedigree flocks where CT-scanned rams are used to sire the next generation of terminal sires.

Samuel Boon, EBLEX breeding specialist, said: “A number of factors contributed to last year’s success, including an ever increasing demand for high EBV sires and the availability of a mobile CT scanner to reduce journey times. The availability of financial support also played a significant role, not just from EBLEX, but also from several breed societies and the breeders themselves. Breeders in Scotland and Wales receive support from QMS and HCC.”

“CT scanning is creating an important competitive edge to enable pedigree breeders to identify and promote the very best breeding lines. It is the widespread dissemination of these superior genetics into the commercial sector that makes it such a vital area to support.”


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