Pearce

The National Beef Association (NBA) recently claimed that Asda is selling substantially more Irish beef than usual and that only 45% of the beef sold by Asda is British sourced. However, these figures quoted by the NBA are wildly inaccurate and totally understate Asda’s commitment to British beef.

British beef label

Year on year our sales of British and Irish beef are identical and we urge the NBA to speak direct to us before making such claims. Counting the number of packs on shelves in a handful of stores is both inaccurate and misleading.

Asda have attracted in excess of 1 million new shoppers in the past 18 months, on the back of this our aim is to increase our sales of British beef going forward not reduce it.

Asda’s Commitment to British beef:

  • Asda BeefLink scheme launched in October 2007 in recognition of the industry’s need for support.
  • Annual face to face conferences with producers to share challenges and opportunities.
  • Implementation of the Heavy Weight cattle scheme
  • Introduction of the Asda ‘Extra Special’ bonus.
  • First supermarket to increase age british cattle accepted into our standard range from 30 months to 36 months.
  • Launch of 180 Dairy Bull Scheme – potentially worth £2m a year to the British beef industry.
Posted by Pearce on 21 October 2009
Pearce

Today we launched Asda Cow Cam. “What is Cow Cam?” I hear you ask. Well basically we’ve placed a webcam on a robotic milking machine at one of our Asda DairyLink farms, Barony Agricultural College near Lockerbie.

Dairycam

The camera will allow Asda customers to see cows being milked throughout the day. The resulting milk is destined for Scottish Asda stores.

Robotic milking machines are quite a new concept in the UK. However they are used quite extensively in countries such as Germany and Holland.

Although quite expensive to install (around £100K), the machines have many benefits for both farmers and their cows. For farmers there is the obvious labour-saving aspect but because the cows decide when they want to be milked (not the other way around) they seem to be much more content and as a result are more productive.

If any problems arise while the farmer is not around, the robotic milking machine sends a text to the farmer – that’s high tech milking!!

Posted by Pearce on 01 October 2009
Pearce

We’ve had a busy week on Radio 4, with two of our farmers being interviewed in the space of two days.

On Wednesday, Geoff Spence one of our Asda DairyLink farmers from Northallerton was interviewed by Sarah Falkingham from Radio 4’s Farming Today show. Geoff introduced Sarah to his first ASDA Wagyu cross Holstein heifer calf and explained how the Wagyu project we have set up operates.

Read more about our two radio stars.
Posted by Pearce on 30 October 2009
Pearce

Mrs Michelle Clinton recently got in contact with us asking what we are doing at Asda to clearly communicate which of our fruit and veg is produced in Britain and also which of it is in season. We have developed the following provenance label shown below which now features on all of our British fruit and veg packaging:

I take on board your point that the label is quite small on some packaging so I have had a chat with Helen in the produce team who oversees the labelling and she is going to see what can be done to make the British label more prominent on pack.

With regards to promoting “season’s best” produce such as apples and plums at this time of the year, obviously if it has the British label it will almost certainly be “in season” with the exception of perhaps potatoes which can be stored through the winter. However, we now put regular articles in the Asda magazine highlighting what’s in season at present such as the two-page article which recently featured in the September edition of the magazine below.

Thank you for your feedback, as always we will endeavour to improve our labelling to promote locally produced British produce.

Posted by Pearce on 15 October 2009
Pearce

Dairy lameness is one of the most serious welfare issues facing the dairy farming industry and I’ve recently been asked what we are doing to improve the lameness of the dairy cows producing milk for Asda. In response, I thought I would write few lines outlining the measure we are taking.

Earlier this year we set up a new hands-on lameness prevention course for Asda DairyLink farmers. The foot care workshops are run by one of the world’s leading dairy cow lameness experts, Roger Blowey and six courses have already been held on our DairyLink members’ farms. The objective of the course is to look at the effectiveness of different management strategies in improving lameness on farms.

Roger begins the course with a talk on hoof structure and reasons for lameness, followed by a foot trimming demonstration and discussion about common problems such as digital dermatitis, solar ulcers, white line and how these can be prevented and treated. After lunch a farm walk takes place where the group identify areas on the farm that may be causing the problems and what can be done to correct them.

Read more about the expert advice we're giving our Asda DairyLink farmers
Posted by Pearce on 06 October 2009