< Taking Dairy Beef From by-product to an ethical and sustainable resource
Rob Drysdale

Rob Drysdale veterinary surgeon, Nuffield Farming Scholar in 2014 and beef producer will be speaking at the British Cattle Breeders Club conference on Tuesday 22nd January in the afternoon session.

He will be speaking on taking dairy beef from by-product to an ethical and sustainable resource.

Britain is only 70% self-sufficient for beef, and more than 55% of what beef we consumed was dairy bred. Per capita consumption may be reducing but overall demand is rising globally. Post Brexit will we be protected from lower assurance levels of production? Probably not. What about our exports? Where will demand come from in 2020 and beyond?

Grass grazed, ethical, sustainable, antibiotic free – these are all simple to say but who is monitoring, measuring and promoting our beef production? Who is branding our product and how can we ensure demand for what will seemingly be a more expensive food when compared to imported beef?

Rob worked across the UK in practice before starting Westpoint Farm Vets in July 2000.  In 2014 and 2015 Rob undertook a Nuffield Farming Scholarship investigating global dairy and beef production, and integration within agriculture.  During this period Rob started his own, fully integrated, dairy beef project looking to produce high health and welfare, consistent beef in a holistic and sustainable way. 

Expansion has seen Rob form StraightLine Beef: taking on the contract management of an 800 acre farm in Somerset. StraightLine Beef integrates dairy bred calves from a handful of dairy producers, over 12 farm sites to form a dedicated supply chain to produce consistent, quality beef from conception to consumption. The business is currently finishing 80 head per week and growing monthly.  Rob still works a few days each month as a veterinary consultant to several large dairy and beef farms across the UK and beyond, plus the wider veterinary and farming industry.

Rob's Nuffield report can be viewed at http://nuffieldinternational.org/rep_pdf/1466103275Robert-Drysdale-report-2014.pdf