A SERIES of on-farm meetings will be held across Wales in the next few weeks to help farmers produce beef from grass in the most efficient and sustainable way possible, while ensuring that the quality of the meat is of world-class standard.

The roadshow on maximising beef output from grass, organised by Farming Connect, will visit Cardigan, Welshpool, Usk and Ruthin between May 22 and June 6.

The sessions will feature 2012 Beef Farmer of the Year James Evans, who will discuss how he has changed his farming practices to maximise beef output from grass; from setting up a grazing system which maximises best use of farm resources, growing more grass with less inputs, efficient grassland management and selecting high quality genetics for improved production off grass.

The meetings will also give an opportunity for farmers to hear more about the pioneering BeefQ Project, a three-year cross-industry initiative designed to incorporate world-leading methods of grading beef by eating quality into the PGI Welsh Beef supply chain.

The BeefQ Project, led by Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), earlier this year arranged several days of intensive training for people working in the industry by Australian specialists in the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system.

Some of the specialists trained at these events are now able to pass on their expertise to producers at demonstration events, giving a real insight into how what they do on farm influences the various elements of carcase quality.

The overall aim of the three-year project, supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Fund Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government, is to increase the eating quality and value of Welsh Beef production and improve returns to farmers and processors.

Dr Pip Nicholas Davies, the project co-ordinator at IBERS, said: “This is the first real opportunity BeefQ has had to engage with farmers, outline what we are doing and hear from them how they would like to see the Welsh industry moving forward in terms of beef eating quality.”

Dr Eleri Price, from BeefQ project partners Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), will be speaking at the first meeting of the series in Cardigan.

She said: “These meetings across Wales are a chance to bring farmers up to date on the progress of the BeefQ project.

"The first samples have been collected for analysis, which will help us to understand the wide range of factors which impact on eating quality.

“The training course with MSA-qualified beef grading experts gave a huge insight into how on-farm practices can impact on meat quality.

“I’m really looking forward to discussing this with farmers, and explore ways in which the whole supply chain can work together to make PGI Welsh Beef a brand which is renowned for consistently high eating quality.”

An on-farm meeting will be held at Maes Tyddyn Isaf, Clawddnewydd on June 6 (2.30-4.30pm).

See hccmpw.org.uk for more details.