Long-awaited trading certainty for livestock sector

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Beef producers can finally plan ahead with confidence, following the launch of the world’s first smart, data-driven beef contract which sets a secure price 24 months ahead.

In a development which is set to transform the British beef industry, Breedr has launched the UK’s first ever long-term minimum-priced contract based on lifetime animal data.

With price certainty giving producers confidence to invest, and the data used to improve efficiencies throughout the supply chain, this will not only reduce the industry’s environmental footprint but also improve the consistency and quality of the end product.

In addition, the team has launched a new risk-free way to buy and sell livestock, based on lifetime animal data and weights. The Breedr live trading platform means producers can buy and sell through the free app with certainty, with a price guarantee in case of any differential in the weight of weaned calves and stores between farms. Sellers are also ensured payment within 72 hours of collection, and trades will be commission free until later this year.

Planning with confidence

“As beef producers ourselves, we know how tricky it is to plan ahead with confidence – one batch of bad calves can ruin a farm, as can a downturn in the beef market,” says Ian Wheal, founder of Breedr.

“But by making better use of data we can buy and sell with transparency, predict growth rates, and know that we’re supplying the processor with what they want – ensuring a secure end market and price.”

The contract is worth more than £130m to British beef producers over the next seven years, offering a 24-month minimum price for any cattle with lifetime data, with producers also receiving a proportion of any uplift in price above that. Rearers can opt to be paid on a per kg growth basis, eliminating the need for capital outlay on youngstock, while advanced payments are available to smooth cash flow.

“With Brexit, the whole food industry is facing an uncertain time – but British agriculture is innovating to meet UK and global needs,” says Mr Wheal. “Being able to plan ahead with certainty finally gives farmers the peace of mind they need to invest and build profitable businesses.”

Farmers using the free app are finishing animals five months earlier than the industry average, with 24% more carcasses reaching the target specification. They are saving 1.8t/head in feed and reducing their carbon footprint by 20%, he adds.

Farmer collaboration

Adam Quinney, chair of beef and lamb at AHDB, says: “At AHDB we are very supportive of technology that is helping bring certainty, and collaboration between farmer groups in the supply chain.

“The benefit of these supply chains encourages improvements to genetics, farm productivity and therefore environmental impact in the long term. Breedr is a good example British innovation utilising technology to develop supply chains for farmers and processors alike.”

The network now has over 2,000 members and 120,000 registered animals across the UK, many of whom are joining forces to create integrated supply chains to further improve efficiencies. By collating data on genetics, growth rates, health, and carcass grades, producers can identify the most productive breeding lines and management methods, optimising productivity throughout the supply chain.

“We run regular webinars for our members, bringing in expert speakers to help farmers improve efficiencies every step of the way,” says Mr Wheal. “This is a true community of forward-thinking farmers, who are sharing their own top tips and forming robust business partnerships. Together, farmers have the power to drive this positive change.”

For more information visit www.breedr.co