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Forage Consumption

With many farms still struggling with weather conditions and forage availability across Northern Ireland, thought must be put into how to help mitigate against these factors.
Suggestions include increasing concentrate feeding levels, while restricting silage, to allow the cattle to receive the appropriate nutrition without consuming as much forage in the process. In addition putting cattle out to sacrificial paddocks could be a solution, as sacrificing one or two paddocks would greatly reduce forage consumption and would also allow for much needed grass growth across the rest of the farm.

Scour in calves

Across Northern Ireland in 2017 conditions for making silage were less than ideal. As a result many farms have poorer quality silage than usual. This has resulted in veterinarians noticing an increase in scours in young calves as they have not been receiving adequate quality or quantity of colostrum, meaning that insufficient levels of immunoglobulins were absorbed.
Therefore it should be ensured that calves are closely monitored to ensure they consume the appropriate amount of colostrum, and if necessary supplementary tubes should be used to boost the calves immune system and help them to fight disease.

Keeping Correct Veterinary Medicine Records

All records - including any veterinary prescriptions where they are provided - must be kept in a permanent and legible form for at least five years following the administration or disposal of the product, even if the animals concerned have been sold or slaughtered or have died during that period. Individual animals must be identified where administration is required along with the dosage administered. This information must be stored in the FQAS Medicine book and be available for audit during Farm inspections. It is important to note that all Medicine when expired must be returned to the point of purchase for correct disposal.

Scours in suckled calves.

Scour is the most common disease affecting young calves, with up to 50% of calf deaths in the first month after calving is due to scour. Scour also causes a reduction in thrive, and increases veterinary costs and labour, resulting in a potentially significant financial losses.
The most common causes of scour in calves are;
• Rotavirus
• Coronavirus
• Cryptosporidium
• Salmonella
• E Coli K99
These infections disrupt the normal working of the intestine, interfering with the absorption of water and the digestion of food.
There are ways to reduce the chance of calves getting scour, such as colostrums intake. It is essential that calves receive 10% of their bodyweight in colostrums in the first 6 hours and 5% within the first 2 hours. This is important as colostrum contains essential immunoglobulins which help to build up immunity to scour.
Good hygiene is also essential in reducing incidence of scour. It should be ensured that all calving pens are clean and dry and that cow’s udders are clean. Any sick calves should be isolated and treated immediately to prevent them from shedding and infecting other calves.
Vaccination is another way of reducing scour and should be administered to the cows around three weeks pre calving to allow the colostrum to build sufficient levels of immunity in the colostrum.

Preparation for calving

With calving season well underway on most farms it should be remembered that the fine details can make a huge difference to having a successful calving time.
These steps should help to make for a more successful calving time.
Cows should be built up gradually onto ad lib silage pre calving as the energy requirement of the cow is increasing during this time. The ideal body condition score for cows at this time is 2.5-3. Therefore feed allowance should be tailored to meet the cow’s requirements.
In addition to this, pre calving minerals should be offered to cows for around six weeks before calving as silage is usually low in minerals such as iodine and selenium which may result in weak calves at birth.
Cows should be vaccinated before calving to ensure that there are high levels of immunoglobulin’s in the colostrums to help protect the calf against scour. Calves should receive 10% of its bodyweight in colostrums within the first six hours and 5% within the first two hours.
Calving pens should always be kept clean, dry and well bedded with straw to help prevent disease build up in the calving house. These pens should not be used to house sick animals as this could result in disease being spread throughout the calves which have a low immune system just after birth.
Calving aids should be on hand at all times to ensure that if a cow must be calved that action can be taken quickly. These calving aids such as pullers and ropes should be kept clean at all times, and a supply of electrolyte powder, colostrums and stomach tubes should all be readily available. In addition all calves navels should be sprayed with iodine immediately after birth to reduce the risk of infection.

Linden Foods Host Queen's University Students

Linden Foods recently hosted BSc Honours Degree Agricultural technology students from Queen’s University Belfast for their annual visit. The students visited the factory as part of Agri-Food Business Marketing and Management module whereby they learn about the supply chain and how it works, and then are put into groups of four which develop a new food product. The groups then compete by cooking the product and presenting it to representatives from Linden Foods, Marks and Spencer and Greenmount.
The students were shown round the kill floor and each stage was explained along with its significance to agriculture and what cuts are targeted to which consumer market. In addition they were shown around the boning hall, outlining some key aspects of supermarket requirements, such as the significance of carcass weight and how it affects steak size for packaging.
The students then had time for a discussion with Supply Chain Manager Keith Williamson and Lamb Buyer Gary Foster. This allowed the students to explore topics such as weekly throughput to the future of the industry post Brexit.

The importance of presenting clean livestock for slaughter

As we enter the winter period, the number of cattle and sheep being presented to the abattoir with dirty fleeces and hides is increasing. Linden Foods asks its producers to be diligent in management practices such as bedding cattle and sheep to reduce the number of dirty animals being produced.
Presenting clean animals for slaughter is extremely important as dirty fleeces and hides can increase the likelihood of carcass contamination and risk to human health. This is due to the fact that pathogens such as E. Coli, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella and Campylobacter can be carried in faeces. These pathogens can cause food borne illness if transferred to the carcass during dressing, and then consumed by people.
Severe dirtiness can also be a potential welfare issue for the animals, as this suggests inadequate bedding. This may lead to infections such as digital dermatitis and heel horn erosion, causing pain to the animal. This links in with the Freedom from pain, injury and disease. In addition another of the Five Freedoms states that animals should be free from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment which includes a comfortable resting area.
If farmers consistently bring in clean cattle, it would result in more profitable beef production for both the farmer and the processor.

Aberdeen Angus Gaining Popularity

Aberdeen Angus is ever increasing in popularity as a terminal sire. In 2017 it was the most popular beef sire used in AI, with more calves registered as being AA bred.
Therefore Linden Foods attended the recent Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society Show and Sale in Dungannon Farmers’ Mart.
The show was very competitive with Judge Dessie Mackey awarding male champion to Tullybryan Black Brexit S906, bred by Fiona Troughton from Ballygawley. Reserve male champion went to Moses Irwin Jnr’s Denamona Petershore S833. Female champion went to Ember Princess Lil S144 by Freddie Davidson and reserve female champion went to Richard and Fiona McKeown’s Ashvale Blackbelle.
There was an increase in demand for bulls with the auctioneer confirming that 18 bulls were sold at an 82% clearance rate to an average price of £2,841/head, which is an increase on last years average by £450.
The top price went to Richhill Romeo S427 who reached 4,600gns. This bull is in the breeds top 25% for calving ease and was purchased by Kenneth Stewart from Larne, who finishes his calves through Linden Foods Aberdeen Angus Scheme.

Preparing for Lambing

As lambing season approaches quickly it is important to ensure that both your ewes and facilities are prepared for the start of lambing.
In the last four to six weeks of gestation around 70% of lamb growth occurs, and the ewe’s udder should start to develop. As the lamb increases in size the ewe’s rumen capacity decreases, meaning that the ewe needs a nutrient dense feed source, especially those carrying multiple lambs. The need for supplementary feed and its composition will depend on the quality of the forage available. Ewes should begin being fed 6-8 weeks pre lambing with the maximum quantity of concentrate being 0.5kg/head.
It is also advisable to give sheep a booster vaccine such as Heptavac P 6-8 weeks before lambing to protect against clostridial diseases. Ewes should be monitored closely for illness such as Listeriosis and Toxaemia and conditions such as prolapsed.
Preparation of the lambing shed is also vital at this time. The lambing shed should be cleaned out, power washed and disinfected to reduce the risk of disease occurring, and bedding should be kept clean at all times.
Items which should be on readily on hand are as follows;
• Gloves
• Lambing ropes
• Lubricant
• Iodine
• Stomach tube and milk bottle
• Syringes and needles
• Thermometer
• Twin lamb disease drench
• Coloured marker
• Calcium 20% injection
• Magnesium 40% injection
• Rubber rings

New targets for antibiotic usage introduced

Antibiotic resistance is caused by improper and over use of antibiotics, which causes bacteria to change and become resistant to the effects of the antibiotic. This is an ever growing issue in both human and animal medicines, and so usage must be monitored carefully to help mitigate against resistance.
Research has shown that usage levels in sheep farms across the UK is 11.4mg/population correction unit (pcu), with some farms reading as much as 50mg/pcu. It is estimated that the levels found on cattle farms are around 12-16mg/pcu. This means that per kilogram of body weight at the point of treatment that the above quantity of antibiotic was found. This is extremely significant as antibiotic resistance may be passed from animals to humans through the consumption of meat, which is a significant issue which the meat industry must strive to address.
As a result of these factors the UK released targets for antibiotic use for 2020. These include a 10% reduction in the use of antibiotics on cattle and sheep farms alike.
The advice given to help farmers achieve a reduction in antibiotic usage is to use antibiotics as little as possible, but as much as necessary.
This means that farmers should take measures to ensure that they are not over using antibiotics, by having an Animal Health Plan which is approved by the vet, and to maintain good animal husbandry measures to reduce the likelihood of infection such as maintaining high hygiene standards.
In addition farmers should use antibiotics as much as they are needed; should an animal become sick, it should be treated appropriately with consultation of the vet. Dosage rates should also be monitored, with only the necessary amount for the animal’s weight being administered and the full course of antibiotics should be administered as instructed by the vet.

Linden Foods hosts lamb producers for line tour.

Linden Foods recently hosted a group of farmers for a tour of the Primal site. During the visit the farmers were given a tour of the lairage and kill floor, before going to Tesco in Dungannon and then to James Henderson’s farm in Kilkeel.
Also present were Tesco’s Lamb Agriculture Manager Hannah Donegan and Lamb Consultant Diane Spence.
During the tour of the lairage, the farmers were shown how the lairage works by Linden Foods Supply Chain Manager Keith Williamson and Lamb Buyer Gary Foster. Farmers had the opportunity to see different grades of lambs before slaughter, with Gary explaining what the ideal lamb is for Linden Foods, with discussion on potential ways of achieving this specification. The farmers were then taken on a tour of the kill floor, where they saw each stage of the slaughtering process, with the reasoning behind each step being explained. The farmers were shown the lambs being weighed and graded at the scale and discussed at length with Gary and Keith why each lamb was given a particular grade and what in particular the grader is looking for.

In addition the farmers were able to view the lambs they had seen in the lairage as they were graded. The farmers then visited a Tesco store to see how lamb is marketed to the consumer. The differences between the scale of sales of lamb compared to beef, chicken and pork were outlined and reasons for which were discussed. This outlined the fact that lamb is very much a seasonal product.
The group then visited James Henderson’s farm. James farms beef and sheep in Kilkeel and discussed the challenges the farm has faced in the past. James explored the ways in which he is continually monitoring and improving the performance of his sheep flock, through the use of benchmarking and performance recording. James utilizes Shearwell technology to calculate birth to weaning liveweight gains, as well as to select replacement ewe lambs, cull ewes and review overall flock performance.
The farmers had the opportunity to speak to Eileen McCloskey from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, about issues such as flock health and disease management.

Careful Use of Antibiotics

Although Europe has some of the strictest regulations in the world governing the use of Antibiotics in cattle, there is growing concern in both government and medical circles about Antibiotic resistance. All producers need to be aware that many of the bugs that infect humans also cause disease in Animals and in many instances the same Antibiotics are used to treat both.

It is widely accepted that Britain will impose maximum levels of Antibiotics in meat in the near future. It is advised tha farmers work closely with their Vet to ensure that Antibiotics are only used when absolutely necessary and that all withdrawal periods are adhered to.
Certain groups of Antibiotics that are widely used to treat humans such as Quinolones or Cephalosporins are not desired and should only be used to treat Animals when absolutely necessary and recommended by your vet.

Examples of drugs containing these antibiotics. (QUINOLONES - Baytril, Unisol, Fenoflox, Marbox, Enroxil, Barbiflox, Keracyl, Advocin, Ublifox, Powerflox, Forcyl, Marbocyl. CEPHALOSPORINS - Nisamox, Bimoxyl LA, Cefokel, Amoxypen LA, Cobactin 2.5%, Depocillin, Dimazon, Metricure, Cemay, Cevaxel RTU, Eficure, Ampicaps, Ceporex) This list is for example only and by no means a complete list.

Changes at Linden Foods

After almost 11 years at Linden Frank Foster is leaving Linden Foods to undertake a new initiative with a developing meat and poultry processing business. During his time at Linden Frank established the Linden calf rearing project and the Rosé veal supply chain as well as being involved in the companies Green Track environmental scheme.
The new supply chain manager is Keith Williamson, Keith joined the company as a graduate in 2011. During this period he has worked on a number of projects and across various departments. Keith will concentrate on further expanding the Linden Livestock project and developing Lindens integrated supply chain

Trip to Greenmount's new state of the art sheep shed at Glenwherry Hill Farm

Linden Foods are running a trip to Greenmount's Glenwherry Hill Farm on Wednesday 9th November 2016 for all Linden lamb producers. The trip will include a tour of the new state of the art sheep shed, talks on feeding the fat lamb and controlling parasites in your flock. For more information call Gary foster on 07754390288 or 028 8775 8376.

Linden Livestock grows from strength to strength

Linden Livestock’s ongoing investment in state-of-the-art-calf rearing units is ensuring a constant supply of high quality weaned Angus and Continental calves. These animals are then sold on for finishing to beef farmers across Northern Ireland. “It’s an integrated process,” confirmed Linden’s supply chain manager Frank Foster. “We are working closely with professional calf rearers, who have both the skills and the bespoke facilities to rear dairy bred beef calves to the highest specification,” he said. “These high quality animals are then offered to farmers, who will commit to finish them between 24 and 28 months.” Frank Foster also confirmed that the investment in the bespoke rearing units represents a partnership arrangement between Linden Livestock and individual calf rearers. “The number of calf units continues to increase,” he said.”

A case in point is William Davidson, who farms near Magheralin with his son Matthew. They have recently committed to a second unit, having been of the original six calf rearers identified by Linden Livestock. “Both buildings can accommodate 135 calves with comfort when full,” William explained. “Each has been specifically designed to meet the exact needs of young calves with a strong emphasis placed on getting the ventilation right and providing the comfort these young animals needs from the minute they arrive to the day they leave.”

Linden Livestock is sourcing a mix of Angus scheme approved and continental calves directly from dairy farmers across Northern Ireland. “Everything is done on a weight basis.” William Davidson added. “The calves arrive in with me weighing around 50 kilos. They are weaned at between 65 and 70 kilos, subsequently leaving the units at around 100 kilos. From the outset the calves are offered high quality milk replacer and starter feed. Weaning usually takes place between five and six weeks after their arrival. An all-out: all-in policy is strictly adhered to, where the calves are concerned. Both sheds are thoroughly cleaned out between each batch of calves.”
Frank Foster again: “All the bespoke units are purpose built to provide high welfare, well ventilated calf rearing accommodation. Once they reach 100 kilos in weight, they are batched to meet the customer’s specification and prepared for moving to the finisher. During their period on the calf rearing unit the calves will be vaccinated against the major causes of respiratory disease including IBR, providing them with improved immune systems to help reduce infection. The objective of the calf units is produce as well-grown calves in relation to their age, breed and sex. Research suggests that well-grown calves will perform better at later stages of life. This is achieved by ensuring that the calves are on a high plane of nutrition from the instant they enter the units. In addition, all aspects of management are of the highest standards. It is envisaged that the majority of the calves will enter a 21 to 24 month beef finishing system, aiming for a carcass weight of 280 to 340 kilos at less than two years old.”

Tassagh beef finisher Larry Nugent is one of the many farmers now sourcing weanlings from Linden Livestock. He is committed to purchasing 60 Angus and continental steers in the spring.
“This is my third year in so doing,” he said. “I am able to source high quality stock, all of which have been reared to the highest standards. The cattle thrive from the day they arrive on the farm. Purchasing stock in this way also ensures that the Angus calves all qualify for the bonus scheme.”

Larry’s commitment to Linden Livestock has been complemented with an active grassland re-seeding programme on the farm.
“As a result, I am able to get the cattle through to their finishing weights at around 24 months with a degree of ease.
“All the finished cattle are sold to Linden Foods.”
Frank Foster confirmed that Linden Livestock has a plentiful supply of weanling calves available for sale throughout the year.

Farmers wishing to purchase stock should ring: (028) 8772 4777

Trip to Teagasc beef open day 2016

On Tuesday 5th July Linden group took 30 farmers to the Teagasc Animal & Grassland, Research and Innovation Centre in Grange, County Meath for a beef open day. There were informative talks from Teagasc researchers and advisors on all aspects of beef production including suckler and dairy X beef systems and the growing importance of genomics beef production.
As profitable technologies were a key focus, grassland management was addressed and demonstrations of 5 different options for reseeding including ploughing and min till systems could be seen in 5 adjacent plots sown out approximately 6 weeks prior to the open day. This allowed for comparison between the different options available and how each one impacted on the grazing sward. Advice was available on paddock grazing systems and how good grassland management can increase profitability within the farm business. Animal reproduction and health was also discussed in talks and on stand displays as it plays a key role in the profitability of the beef enterprise
There was a live forum debate including the Irish minister of agriculture on the importance of the beef industry within the agricultural sector and the role which young farmers play in sustaining agriculture as a key part of the economy. This has also been promoted through the increase in agriculture courses available and the CAP young farmers top up payment.

Young Farmer Success with M&S

Linden and M&S undertake a yearly project to support young farmers of the future and develop their knowledge of the supply chain. Pictured are the winners of the supply chain project 2016, Greenmount College students Ryan Bradley, Nicola Annett and John Anderson with Greenmount lectures and Frank Foster (Linden Supply Chain Manager)

Crosby Cleland Success at Balmoral

Balmoral Show was a great success for Linden Foods and their producers, with Linden farmers picking up awards with Marks & Spencer’s Farming for the Future award programme.

Crosby Cleland Co. Down sheep farmer and co-ordinator of the Strangford Down lamb group was awarded the M&S Prince’s Trust award for his outstanding service to the farming community, pictured with Frank Foster (Linden Supply Chain Manager), Peter Kennedy (M&S Agricultural Manager) and William Waugh (Linden Procurement Director). As a very active member of the Ulster’s Farmers Union he is closely involved with the farming community.

Larry Nugent Success at Balmoral Show

Balmoral Show was a great success for Linden Foods and their producers, with Linden farmers picking up awards with Marks & Spencer’s Farming for the Future award programme.

Larry Nugent Co. Armagh beef farmer won the M&S Northern Ireland Farmer of the year award, pictured with Frank Foster (Linden Supply Chain Manager), Peter Kennedy (M&S Agricultural Manager) and William Waugh (Linden Procurement Director). Larry has worked closely with Linden since 2007 and is a great advocate of farm development groups. Larry regular opens up his farm for students and fellow producers to come and learn about Larry’s beef and lamb system.

Ulster Bank visits Linden Foods

Ulster Bank managers showed their commitment to the agriculture industry during a visit to Linden Foods Dungannon factory prior to Balmoral, to get an important update on the red meat industry.
Discussions included the current and future economics of red meat production, growing markets within the beef and lamb sector and an update on Linden agricultural projects.

Young Bulls

Spring time often see’s the availability of young bulls rise and may continue all year with more beef cross calves about.
Some beef producers may feel temped by this availability and lower cereal prices to start finishing young bulls.
Linden would like to remind any producers finishing young bulls or thinking about starting to check their market outlet and to research the economics and specifications. Many supermarkets have removed young bulls from their specification in recent years and this trend is set to continue.
The current specification for young bulls for virtually all retail customers is
- Under 16 months
- Between 260kg – 380kg
- Ideally a minimum finish of 2+
- A substantial reduction is enforced on young bulls out of spec
We strongly advise that you speak with our procurement team before investing in any young bull enterprise.

Beware Slurry Gases

Hydrogen sulphide /slurry gas is one of the biggest causes of on farm deaths. This gas because it is heavier than air effectively has no smile. It causes rapid unconsciousness and death to any one exposed to it.
The highest concentrations are always released just after mixing starts. The following measures should always be observed.
Always remove stock from the building before mixing.
Provide as must ventilation as possible
Never enter a building during mixing and the pump working
Avoid mixing in still air conditions
Use outside mixing points were possible
Always ensure that another person knows what you are doing
Never enter a tank unless you have the correct safety equipment

Autumn and Winter Liver Fluke Forecast for Northern Ireland 2015-2016

Farmers need to consider the risk of liver fluke infection in cattle and sheep. Acute fluke has already been diagnosed this year in both the AFBI Belfast and Omagh laboratories.

Using a forecasting system based on climate data, staff at the Institute have predicted that the overall risk of liver fluke infection during this autumn and winter will be high. This risk is likely to be even higher in the West of the province where the incidence of liver fluke is normally higher, and this year the levels of rainfall during the months of May to August were considerably higher in the West than in the East. Although June was a dry month, the months of May, July and August were wetter. The unusually high rainfall in May will have offset the drying effect of June, and ground conditions will have remained damp, ideal for the survival of the intermediate host, the snail Galba truncatula.
The mean monthly temperatures for May through to September were on average 0.5?C lower than the Northern Ireland average, but the mean temperature for the period June to August, at 13.3?C, was sufficiently high to allow the snails to breed and the fluke infections to develop within the snails. In areas which are poorly drained and remain wet all year round, multiplication of snails will have continued, and the likelihood of liver fluke infection in the autumn and winter would be particularly high.
Liver fluke disease can occur in either acute or chronic forms. The acute form occurs in sheep and is caused by the migration of large numbers of immature flukes through the liver. Acute liver fluke is often fatal and has serious welfare implications. Signs of severe infections include distended painful abdomen, anaemia and sudden death. In less severe cases poor production and growth, coupled with reduced appetite and abdominal pain are apparent. Chronic liver fluke disease is more common than the acute form and occurs in both sheep and cattle, usually during the winter and spring although infection can persist throughout the year. Affected animals may exhibit ‘bottle jaw’ (swelling under the jaw).
Fluke infection can cause a reduction of 5-15 per cent in the milk yield of dairy cows and loss of growth in fattening lambs and cattle. It is therefore a source of considerable financial loss to the local agricultural industry. Fluke infections in dairy cattle can also predispose to metabolic conditions such as ketosis and infectious diseases such as salmonellosis. The same is likely to be true for sheep. Migrating liver fluke can also predispose animals to the clostridial infection, Black disease, and care should be taken to ensure that cattle and sheep in fluke affected areas are fully vaccinated against this disease.
All farmers should review their fluke control measures at this time of year. Access to snail habitats (wet and poorly drained areas) should be reduced or sheep taken off the land and housed or moved to new clean pasture. However, in most cases, control will be based on the strategic use of anthelmintics, employing a product effective against the life cycle stages likely to be present in the flock or herd at the time of treatment. This is particularly important in autumn when acute fluke infection occurs in sheep and pick-up of infection by sheep and cattle is still taking place. At this time of year a product effective against immature and mature forms is needed. Use of such a product on out-wintered sheep once or twice in autumn and maybe in January, coupled with a treatment effective against adult flukes in early spring, should significantly reduce the fluke burden on individual farms.
Treatment of chronic (adult) infections in cattle as well as sheep during the winter or early spring is important to help reduce pasture contamination with fluke eggs. Use of an anthelmintic with activity mainly against adult flukes may be sufficient in these circumstances. However the flukicide programme used has to be on a ‘know-your-farm’ basis and no one set of recommendations will cover all flocks or herds.
Farmers need to be aware that resistance to fluke treatments is an emerging problem and has been detected in Northern Ireland. On some premises, products containing triclabendazole (the only flukicide currently licensed in UK and Ireland that is effective against the immature stages of liver fluke, causing acute fasciolosis in sheep) have been used almost exclusively for a number of years. On such farms it is possible that triclabendazole-containing products may now be less effective in controlling fluke infection, and for treating acutely-ill animals. The effectiveness of anthelmintic treatment on individual farms can be checked by taking dung samples 3-4 weeks after treatment and submitting them, through your veterinary surgeon, for laboratory examination.
In recent years, stomach (rumen) flukes have also become common in sheep and cattle in NI, and this is particularly the case in fluke-prone areas. Adult rumen flukes are less damaging to sheep and cattle than liver flukes, but heavy infections of immature worms may cause diarrhoea, ill-thrift and, exceptionally, death in young animals. If you suspect that stomach fluke infection may be a problem on your farm, you should contact your veterinary surgeon to arrange for appropriate laboratory testing, and to discuss treatment options.
Advice on the most suitable anthelmintic and other control measures can be obtained from your veterinary surgeon. The AFBI veterinary laboratories at Stormont and Omagh can assist your veterinary surgeon by testing dung and blood samples from livestock for evidence of fluke infection and associated liver damage. Further information on liver fluke disease in cattle and sheep may be found at:

Credit: Hilary Edgar, Jason Barley and Bob Hanna at AFBI

Making the most of your Ewe Flock

Culling ewes is vital to flock profitability. No ewe should be retained for breeding if they are not producing lambs that reach target either for slaughter or breeding.
Throughout the year ewes should be marked or tagged that have problems. Records and identification are key to successful culling.
Six reasons to cull ewes:
1. Body Condition- (Body condition score less than three a month after weaning are unlikely to regain condition before tupping). Over fat ewes (Body condition score 4-5 at weaning may be barren or may not have reared their lambs.)
2. Udders- Mastitis, lumps or hard udders or current infections should be culled. They will not yield enough milk. Low or slack udders or large teats will also cause problems as lambs will struggle to suckle.
3. Reproductive problems- Barren (including abortions) and prolapse are the most common.
4. Teeth- ewes may not be able to retain their own body condition let alone rear two lambs.
5. Feet-Lameness- Ewes that are consonantly taking sore feet should be culled. Footrot can spread through the flock very rapidly.
6. Lambing score- If ewes had a very difficult lambing they should be culled or poor mothering ability which makes it difficult for lambs to suck.

Day out for Strangford Down Lamb Group in conjunction with Linden Foods.

Friday the 19th & Saturday 20th of June a group of Strangford Down sheep farmers & in conjunction with Linden Foods went on two farm visits in Co. Westmeath & Co. Galway and the Sheep 2015 Event in Athenry.
The first farm visited was that of Yvonne & Gordon Johnston in Co. Westmeath, they run 650 breeding ewes and finish all the lambs. The focus was to illustrate their good grassland management and the impact it had on ewes and lambs from birth to weaning in that it provided good milk supply to the ewes and excellent growth rates in the lambs.
The second visit was to Dierdre & Richard Bourne in Co. Galway. This was more an intensive farm showing a mixture of enterprises. 1500 acre farm with 1500 intensive bull beef finished (30 per week), 65% of their bulls are bought directly off farm and 35% from livestock marts. 150 steers & 150 heifers are also finished. The sheep enterprise consists of 1500 breeding ewes with all the lambs finished on the farm.
Around 400 acres of cereals and 200 acres of sugar beet and maize are also grown. There is also a contracting business on the farm carrying out combing of cereals, sugar beet washing and chopping for a number of farmers in their area.
Saturday 20th brought a cloudy morning bighting up with the Sheep 2015 in Teagasc Mellow Campus Athenry Co. Galway. This was the biggest Sheep event in Ireland with a focus on providing farmers and retailer’s advice to make them more efficient and profitable. Teagasa joined the organising by Board Bia, Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, Irish Farmers Journal, Sheep Ireland and University College Dublin.

Grassland Management

Grass growth has been strange this year. It started growing rapidly in April but slowed down considerably in late April and May.
Leaving lambs on the ewes for longer is not a good option- they need to be weaned by 12 weeks so grass can be prioritised to growing lambs.
One option is to start forward creep grazing lambs from about 6 weeks of age to weaning.
Another option is to have creep lamb field gates, by this the lambs can creep ahead of the ewes on to better grass/clover swards which should be more digestible/palatable. This will help increase lamb growth, reduces stress and will also reduce concentrated creep.
Forward creeping lambs will also help to reduce the worm burned as they are grazing on clean swards reducing the risk of picking up worms.

NIFDA Training Excellence Award For Linden Foods, M&S and CAFRE

Linden Foods prides itself as having close relationships with its partners in the Supply Chain. It also appreciates the need that everyone in the Supply Chain must have an understanding of the complete chain. One part of the Supply Chain where knowledge, communication and understanding is particularly poor is between the retailers / red meat processors and farmers.

Linden Foods decided last year to try and address this by setting up an initiative with Marks & Spencer to try and address this situation. It was decided that the best way to do this was by training the next generation of highly trained farmers/farm leaders/ and farm advisers in the complete red meat supply chain. It was felt these young people would be in good position to inform the wider farming community in the future of the importance of a secure supply chain.

With the help of Greenmount CAFRE, a supply chain initiative was developed for the second year agricultural technology undergraduates. The first set of students completed the initiative last year and after excellent feedback, it was decided that the initiative would be repeated for the next few years.

The initiative starts with the students visiting Linden Foods for a complete day during which they see and learn about every aspect of the processing side of the red meat supply chain, it has been assumed that the production side of the supply chain is covered during their studies.

The next part of the initiative involves the students visiting the M&S Sprucefield store to learn about the customer and their expectations. They also attend a lecture given by a member of the M&S supply chain team on how a major retailer operates in the retail market to satisfy their customers.

The final part of the initiative is where the students work in groups of four to design a sustainable new agricultural/ horticultural product and present it together with how the supply chain would operate to a panel of judges from Linden Foods, M&S and CAFRE.

The winning team of four will visit M&S headquarters with an overnight stay in London, including a meal at a top restaurant.

The feedback from last year’s initiative was excellent, after this year there will be 67 undergraduates with a complete insight to the red meat supply chain.

‘Young Producer of The Year’ for Linden’s Beef Farmer Noel Hooke

Local producer for Linden Foods and Marks & Spencer has been rewarded for his talent as an inspirational Young Producer at a M&S ‘Farming for the Future’ Award presentation, which took place at this years Balmoral Show.

Noel Hooke from Co. Down scooped the 'Young Producer Award' which champions forward-thinking individuals whose technical ability or business aptitude promises to make a positive impact on their sector, and who demonstrate they have what it takes to lead the next generation of farmers.

Noel farms alongside his father Laurence on the family farm just outside Hillsborough, County Down were they concentrate on beef production and in particular on producing Aberdeen Angus cattle for Linden Foods and Marks and Spencer.

The judges were impressed by the fact that in his quest for farming knowledge, Noel had travelled extensively and had now returned home to put into practice much of what he had learn't and the fact he was doing this in an environmental and sustainable manner.

Presenting Clean Sheep for Slaughter

Producing clean sheep can be difficult during the winter months. If fleeces are contaminated with manure and soil at the point of slaughter, there is a real risk of meat becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E.Cola & Salmonella.
Research has shown that dirty contaminated fleeces will dramatically increase the risk to human health.
Aiming to keep outdoor finished lambs as clean as possible should become a major priority.
Sheep cleanliness is affected by diet, housing, sheep health, weather conditions, & soil type during in the winter months.
Outdoor finished sheep will be dirty if kept on poorly drained fields and heavy soil types. Good advice would be:
• Keep on dry fields,
• Move feeders regularly to dryer ground,
• Dag lambs when purchased or at weaning,
• Keep lambs in small groups to minimise poaching on the soil,
• Ensure there are a good parasite control,
• Avoid very wet lush grass, if so introduce some dryer feeds to prevent scouring,
• Ensure that there are clean water supply at all times
• Always make changes to the diet gradually,
• For housed sheep ensure that the house is well ventilated & floors are kept dry & ensure that all sheep have access to feed,
• Regular cleaning & disinfecting of handling pens will help reduce the risk of fleece contamination,
• Ensure when transporting sheep that they are not over loaded & that the transport of animals regulations is upheld.

For further information please use the following link on the presentation of clean sheep for slaughter.

Greenmount Students Present New Food Product to M&S & Linden Foods

On Monday 23rd of March 9 groups of second year CAFRE Greenmount undergraduate students presented to a panel how they would establish a supply chain for a new agriculture or horticultural product. The product has to meet the requirement of a Marks & Spencer supplier.
The students were given the opportunity to research a potential food product, outlining the key elements involved from, “farm to fork” supply chain management associated with their product.
The picture shows the winning team they proposed “Gastropub”. The product they proposed was a slow cook meat dish based on cheek meat from Aberdeen Angus animals. The product would join an already well established and successful M&S Range.
The panel commented of the high standard of the student’s presentations and how much work and effort the students had applied to make their presentations so realistic and professional.
The top three groups will meet at the Marks & Spencer stand at this year’s Balmoral Show to receive their prizes. The overall winning group will receive an all-expenses paid trip to London in June to visit the Marks & Spencer HQ and meet with senior staff.
On the panel was Annitta Engel (M&S HQ Waterside London), Michael Gillan (Food Manager M&S Sprucefield), Frank Foster (Linden Foods Supply Chain Manager Dungannon), Dr Kevin Henry & Rosemary Hunter (CAFRE Greenmount)

Greenmount Students visit Marks & Spencer with Linden Foods

In early March 30 BSc Agriculture Technology students visited Marks & Spencer Retail Store at Sprucefield. This is the second part of their visit for their supplychain management module. The first visit was down at Linden Foods to show the first stage in the supplychain cycle. The visit to the M&S store was to show them the final stages of the supplychain before the consumer lifts the final product off the shelf.
The students will prepare a supplychain management presentation to establish a new agriculture product to a panel of experts from both the M&S Store & Linden Foods.
The winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to London in June to visit the Marks and Spencer headquarters and meet with senior staff

Importance Soil Testing

The soil analysis will give the farmer key information on the fertility of the soil which allows the farmer to improve soil fertility and crop yields, reduce fertiliser costs and make better use of slurry and manures.
The soil analysis report states the pH and the P & K of the soil. The pH is a measure of the acidity and how it can be corrected by the application of lime. The optimum value for arable crops is 6.5 and for grassland 6.0. The pH of soil tends to decline over time. The optimum index of two for phosphorus and two- for potassium will maximise crop yield from the most economic use of inputs.

Help Prevent Pneumonia in Youngstock

Any calf showing signs of severe pneumonia should be separated from its group and put in isolation. This will help reduce the risk of infection spreading to the rest of the group. It will also allow the calf’s recovery without being bullied or stressed by the rest of the group.
The isolation area should be separated building that does not share its air space with another building that houses livestock. Calves in isolation should get preferential treatment so ensure there is:
• Plenty of bedding,
• No draughts,
• Good ventilation,
• Easy access to fresh palatable food that is not dusty.
The prevention of pneumonia should be discussed with your vet each year to prevent the risk of an outbreak.

Practical Tips for Lambing Season

Ensure water troughs are not leaking and cleaned regularly. This will help save bedding.

Ensure that sheep meal has a high level of DUP.(digestible undegradable protein e.g Soya) This is very important for udder development & milk production.

Ensure all ewes are able to eat concentrate equally to prevent them from hurting themselves.

Take veterinary advice on worming and fluke treatments and administer clostridial vaccine booster at the right time – 4 weeks pre lambing, e.g Heptavac P Plus.

Prepare the lambing facilities and order equipment such as milk powder, lambing aids, prolapsed harnesses, lamb teats and a store of antibiotics. Cleanliness and disinfectant is key to controlling and preventing disease.

Linden Foods in conjunction with M&S and CAFRE Agriculture Degree Students

Linden Foods & Marks & Spencer are jointly funding CAFRE Second Year Agriculture Degree Students with an in-depth understanding of how an Agri-food supply chain operates.
33 students from Greenmount with their lecture’s Dr Kevin Henry & Ian Mc Maw recently visited both the Primal Site & Retail Site to see how the supply chains operates after the livestock leaves the farm gate.
Almost all of these students have never seen what happens to their livestock after the farm gate. Many of them commented on how organised and efficient the processing plant operated.
Early next year the students will have the opportunity to visit a leading Marks & Spencer Store and study the operations of a major retail food outlet in a consumers originated sector.

Increased Demand For Linden Foods Aberdeen Angus

Due to an increased demand from most of the leading high street retailers and food service companies for a sustainable supply of Aberdeen Angus beef. Linden Foods has decided to make available to its dedicated Aberdeen Angus finishers an increased supply of Aberdeen Angus calves from its Linden Livestock calf units.

Aberdeen Angus calves are sourced from local dairy farmers where possible, but depending on supply some may be sourced from local livestock markets. The calves are reared in the Linden Livestock calf units until they are 100 kilograms before moving in batches to the finishing farms. The calves are fully weaned, eating meal and fully vaccinated before they move.

The demand for the Aberdeen Angus calves has steadily grown as the farmers who have purchased the calves have seen the benefits of been able to order and collect a batch of calves that have been well reared, are of a similar age and size. This allows for ease of management during the whole finishing period.

Linden Foods procurement staff are always on hand to provide help and advice on any aspect of production. In particular they are available to provide advice on the finishing of the cattle so that they will achieve the very attractive Aberdeen Angus bonus.
If you are interested in any aspect of the Linden Foods Aberdeen Angus scheme please contact any member of the Linden Foods procurement team.

Keady Group Looks at Reseeding Options

Keady Grass Group Looks at Reseeding Options in Association with Linden Foods and Marks & Spencer at Larry Nugent’s farm, Tassagh, Country Armagh.
The group has met now for the third time this grass season. The aim of the meeting was to assist farmers to adopt grass technologies to improve overall utilisation of their pastures.
The farmers were welcomed by Senan White (CAFRE), Frank Foster (Supply Chain Manager, Linden Foods) & Anna Playfair Hannay (Agriculture Technologist, M&S).
The meeting focused on the importance on grassland rejuvenation while Senan expressing the importance of addressing soil compaction. Joe McCarragher demonstrated on the night with a McConnel Shakerator.
Joe also demonstrated an airseeder as a method of overseeding to rejuvenate a sward.
Dr Trevor Gilliland & Dr Eamonn Meehan, (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Plant Test Station, Crossnacreevy) spoke on the aspects of the costs of a reseed. Dr Gilliland expressed the need for farmers to closely examine their sward, soil testing for fertility and decide whether a full reseed is required. Dr Meehan emphasised the need for the creation of a firm seedbed to give the best opportunity for success. Dr Gilliland & Dr Meehan both highlighted the benefits to be obtained from grass and clover varieties tested and trailed under Northern Ireland conditions and persuaded farmers to consider these when choosing a grass seed mix.
The next Farm Walk will be on Thursday 9th of October @ 7.00pm. Anyone wanting to attend contact someone at Linden.

New Recruit For Linden Livestock Team

Ronan Campbell has recently joined the Linden Livestock team. Ronan a native of Co Tyrone is from a Dairy, beef and sheep farm. He has a keen interest in breeding pedigree Polled Dorsets.
A former student of Greenmount and Bishop Burton College Yorkshire, Ronan graduated with an honours degree in agricultural management.
As an extremely keen sports person Ronan plays rugby and football for local teams as well as taking part in other local sporting events.
Ronan is passionate about farming and is continually updating his knowledge on all aspects of agriculture.
We would all like to wish Ronan every success in his new role at Linden Foods.

Importance of Grassland Management

Grass is one of the most important resources for beef and sheep production, which many farmers undervalue. Grass is the cheapest feed, and well managed grass swards can provide economic feed throughout the year either as grazed grass or silage.
Grass often under performs due to poor management. Minor grassland improvements can increase livestock performance such as introducing topping, correct use of fertilisers and reseeding.
Well managed, correctly fertilised pasture containing productive grasses and clover can produce 10-11 T/DM/Ha for grazing and 13-14 T/DM/Ha for silage.

Dealing with compaction
• Reduces runoff caused by compaction
• Protects watercourses
• Increases grass yield

Optimizing soil nutrients
Soil sampling:
• It good practice to soil sample every 3-5 years
• Phosphate (P) and Potash (K) are essential for root development and energy transfer.
• Soil sampling helps to reduce fertiliser usage and make efficient use of the fertiliser applied

Selecting mixtures:
Use local recommended grass seed mixtures
• Local grass seeds mixtures can ensure consistently high performing swards
• More reliable timing of maturity, growth habit, palatability and longevity
• More appropriate mixtures for you system. e.g silage/grazing or both

Weed Control
Control options:
• Topping to reduce the risk of weeds spreading
• Spot spraying for invasive weeds
• Spraying off prior to reseeding

Grass tetany in cows at turn out

Grass tetany is a major cause of death in cows, particularly suckler cows, in Northern Ireland. It is caused by magnesium deficiency, which is common in lactating cows grazing lush spring pasture. A sudden deterioration in weather conditions can lead to severe outbreaks of grass tetany by dramatically increasing the number of cows deficient in magnesium.

Steps that can be taken to prevent grass tetany include:

• Feeding High Magnesium concentrates
• Adding Magnesium to the water supply
• Dusting Magnesium onto the swards
• Providing high magnesium licks
• Using slow release magnesium boluses
• All have benefits and disadvantages

Grassland Management techniques too reduce Emissions

Improve technical efficiency through improved grassland management and reduce the level of Green House Gas emissions.

This will be achieved by:

1. Establish a rotational grazing system for both suckler and beef finishing animals to improve utilisation of grazed grass and improve overall farm stocking rate by 25%
2. Implement a soil and sward improvement plan
3. Benchmark performance of both a beef finishing enterprises and by December 2016 achieve a 25% improvement in Gross Margin.
4. By December 2016 through the use of BovIS data achieve a 50% increase in the number of finished animals meeting market specification. BovIS (Bovine information System) is used to match up slaughter information from the abattoir with data held on APHIS (Animal and Public Health Information System) allowing producers to monitor lifetime animal performance.
5. Put in place effective animal weighing facilities to allow safe, regular weighing of all stock.
6. Use AFBI Carbon calculator to monitor the effects of improved technical efficiency on the carbon footprint of the beef produced on the farm.

Students Present proposed food product to M & S

On Friday 7th March 10 groups of second year CAFRE Greenmount undergraduate students presented to a panel how they would establish a supply chain for a new agricultural or horticultural product. The product has to meet the requirements of a Marks & Spencer’s supplier.
The students were given the opportunity to research a potential food product, outlining the key elements involved from “field to fork” supply chain management associated with their product.
The products presented to the panel ranged from frozen yogurt to goats ice cream, with some samples available for the panel to taste.
The picture above shows the winning group, they proposed “Erne Wheaten bread”, with locally sourced wheat and a strategic plan to market the product regionally, with a strong emphasis on logistic management.
The panel commented on the high standard of the student’s presentations and the obvious amount of time and effort put into them.
The winners will now receive an all-expense paid trip to London in June to visit the Marks and Spencer headquarters and meet with senior staff.

M&S Store Visit

On Monday 17th February fifteen second year CAFRE Greenmount undergraduate students were invited to a talk with JP MCShane, Food manager at M&S, Sprucefield. This was the second part the Supply chain programme held by both, ourselves, Linden Foods, and M&S to encourage the next generation to become more involved in the agri-food sector.
This has given the students the opportunity to see the complete meat supply chain, from the livestock coming off the trailer at Linden Foods, the processing and packaging and onto the shelf at M&S.
The talk outlined the PACK principle which M&S uses throughout its stores on a National level. This principle relates to the four key areas; presentation, availability, cross-selling and knowledge.
The day ended, with the students being set the task of presenting to a panel how they would establish a supply chain for a new agricultural or horticultural product. The product supply chain would have to meet the requirements of a Marks and Spencer supplier.
The winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to London to visit the Marks and Spencer headquarters and meet senior staff.

Feeding to reduce pregnancy toxaemia in ewes

Inadequate glucose supplies in late pregnancy can lead to Pregnancy toxaemia. Ewes that are having multiple births are particularly prone to this disease due to the high energy requirements and the lack of readily available energy in the ration.

To avoid pregnancy toxaemia it is important that the diet is formulated to ensure an adequate supply of glucose which the ewe can use instead of having to mobilise energy from her fat reserves.

The feeding of the correct protein levels within the diet is also important to ensure adequate milk supply after lambing. A high quality protein source such as soya bean in late pregnancy will improve milk supply post lambing.

Rural Support

Pictured: (L TO R) Sam Campbell, Board Director - Jude McCann, Development Director - Niall McCool, Group Communications Manager - Clodagh Crowe, - Rural Support Team & Mael Wilford, Linden Foods Environmental Manager

Linden Foods, one of the UK’s leading fresh meat processors, is to work with local charity Rural Support, over the next 12 months to continue to raise awareness of the charity’s work among the rural and farming communities across Northern Ireland.

Rural Support offers a listening and signposting service via a helpline for farmers and rural families across Northern Ireland. Callers to the helpline are of all ages and backgrounds who may be struggling to deal with issues such as emotional distress, physical and mental health, and bureaucracy and more. Speaking about the company’s new partnership, Mael Wilford, Environmental Manager, Linden Foods, commented “The launch of our sustainability programme, GreenTrack earlier this year formalised our commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices"

The rural community and local farmers are a vital link in our supply chain at Linden Foods and through our close working relationship we are aware of the many challenges they face. From today, we will be working with Rural Support to help raise the profile of this valuable organisation and to help raise funds so they can continue to deliver their important work.

Rural Support's Development Director, Jude McCann commented "Rural Support is delighted to have the support of Linden Foods. Forging a partnership with an industry leader such as Linden Foods will strengthen our capacity to promote positive mental wellbeing and ensure that farmers and rural dwellers are aware of and can access the services that we offer.”

Linden Foods’ partnership with Rural Support will cover three main areas
• Driving awareness of Rural Support among key audience by profiling the charity on company’s website, social networking
• Raising funds through a variety of staff events
• Volunteering support.

As Linden Foods’ work with Rural Support gets underway, the company recently donated £1,000 to the charity at a recent staff Christmas dinner along with a couple of hampers.

5th Annual Rosé Veal Producer Meeting

The 5th annual rosé veal producers meeting was held on Wednesday 11th December in Dungannon.

The producers got an update on the current rosé veal specification as well as a summary of some important data on the cost of production and the need to meet market requirements.

The meeting was informed that after some delays the producer’s web site was now live and contained useful information.

The producers received a demonstration on how they could register their rose veal, Aberdeen Angus, or Herefords on the new producer’s web site. Each producer present was then given his own user name and password.

The 28th Royal Ulster Winter Fair

The 28th Royal Ulster Winter Fair continued on Thursday the 12th December.

The show continued to attract a large crowd mainly consisting of the farming community, with an interest in the agricultural industry and the progress and future of faming.

Once again the Linden Foods stand was in high demand as there was an eagerness to find out developments in our Aberdeen Angus and Hereford schemes. The substantial bonuses paid on in spec Aberdeen Angus and Hereford beef in our schemes have encouraged many dairy farmers to consider including these breeds in their breeding plans.

Linden staff who attended the Fair commented “they had a enjoyable day, speaking with many new and existing customers” about current issues they had as well as promoting Linden Foods and OUR role in helping them to have a sustainable future!

M&S and Linden Foods Fund CAFRE agriculture students

Linden Foods in conjunction with M&S are jointly funding a new approach to give second year Agricultural Technology students a better understanding of how a food supply chain operates.

30 students from Greenmount Campus recently visited both Linden Primal and Retail sites to see at first hand the processing and retailing packaging of meat products.

Several students commented on how efficient the processing plant operated.

Early in the New Year, the students will get the opportunity to visit a leading M&S store to learn how a modern retail food outlet operates in an increasingly consumer originated market.

Supplementary Feeding Store Lambs at Grass

The better a lamb is fed the quicker it grows. Supplementary feeding is one approach, it depends on:

• Grass quality
• Lamb quality
• Lamb growth potential

Autumn grass quality depends on how it is managed through the summer. Also the intended market date for your lambs has a big influence on the quantity of supplementary feeding that should be given. Cattle grazed land will be high quality as lambs will graze the fresh grass around cattle dung pats. Re-seeded ground will have the best ME and protein values helping store lambs growth potential and weight gain to be maximised. Grass supply falls from 50 kg/dm/ha/day in mid-September to around 5-10/kg/dm/ha/day in September.

With favourable weather conditions lambs can achieve 1kg of weight gain a week. If lambs are not within 5 – 7 kg f finishing weight at the start of the intended finishing period there is no justification in intensive feeding until the lamb has completed its maximum growth period.

The key to effective supplementary feeding is to feed a low protein, high ME feed such as cereal grain or sugar beet pulp while grass is still of high quality. This must be fed at a level that does not interfere with grass digestibility, typically 0.25 kg/day is fine and up to 0.45 kg/day is the limit for cereal intake. Above this the supplement starts to substitute for grass in the diet. Lambs fed in a group from troughs tend to start eating at the same time and therefore finish together. Expected live weight gains for every 6-8 kg of supplement fed will give a live weight gain of 1 kg. The alternative is the low labour ad lib feed from hoppers.

Typical compounds are 16 % cp and will adequately finish lambs. Unless there are trace elements deficiencies on the ground there is no benefit in extra minerals at grass. Lambs which are supplementary fed must always have access to clean drinking water.

Selection of lambs at slaughter is critical so that lambs are not fed into unsuitable weights/ fat class therefore increasing the cost of the supplementary feeding and decreasing the profit margin.

M&S and Linden Foods Fund CAFRE agriculture students

Linden Foods in conjunction with M&S are jointly funding a new approach to give second year Agricultural Technology students a better understanding of how a food supply chain operates.

30 students from Greenmount Campus recently visited both Linden Primal and Retail sites to see at first hand the processing and retailing packaging of meat products.

Several students commented on how efficient the processing plant operated.

Early in the New Year, the students will get the opportunity to visit a leading M&S store to learn how a modern retail food outlet operates in an increasingly consumer originated market.

The 28th Royal Ulster Winter Fair

The 28th Royal Ulster Winter Fair continued on Thursday the 12th December.

The show continued to attract a large crowd mainly consisting of the farming community, with an interest in the agricultural industry and the progress and future of faming.

Once again the Linden Foods stand was in high demand as there was an eagerness to find out developments in our Aberdeen Angus and Hereford schemes. The substantial bonuses paid on in spec Aberdeen Angus and Hereford beef in our schemes have encouraged many dairy farmers to consider including these breeds in their breeding plans.

Linden staff who attended the Fair commented “they had a enjoyable day, speaking with many new and existing customers” about current issues they had as well as promoting Linden Foods and OUR role in helping them to have a sustainable future!

NSA Sheep Event

July 1st marked the recent NSA Sheep Event, which was held at Ballymena livestock market. On a day which expressed all the natural summer characteristics, a large crowd gathered to make the most of the superb weather and enjoy all the aspects the event had to offer.

Linden Foods was represented by members of its livestock team on their stand at the event. The stand give producers the opportunity to meet and discuss various issues relating to lamb prices, market prospects and market trends within the Northern Irish sheep industry.

With large crowds attending it give Linden staff the chance to promote their business and portray the benefits of supplying lambs to leading sheep meat processor to both new and existing customers.

Linden Staff indicated to all producers that if they can supply top quality lambs that meet the tight supermarket “spec” they will receive top market price from Linden Foods.

Several of the lamb producers commented to staff that they were delighted to see Linden Foods where represented at the event as it demonstrated to them that a leading lamb processor was supporting the NSA and local producers.