Yorkshire farmer to tour the world in search of valuable beef secrets

A young Yorkshire farmer will travel the world to learn how to make a better living from running a beef herd after successfully applying for a prestigious scholarship.

Sarah Pick with Nigel Pulling, chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. Picture by Simon Dewhurst.

Sarah Pick, 29, has been awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to study how to increase profits and productivity from beef enterprises ahead of a new era for British farming post-Brexit.

The Government has proposed phasing out direct support payments for farmers by 2027 and replacing them with financial incentives as part of a new environmental land management scheme.

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Ms Pick lives on a dairy farm in Barnsley and works as a knowledge exchange manager at the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, a role which sees her advise farmers on how to manage heifers.

“I’m extremely passionate about suckler beef production and ensuring the sector’s long-term future,” she said.

“Profit margins are tight within the industry and with the potential loss of direct payments looming, it is important we understand what small changes can be made to drive up profitability.”

Ms Pick will visit Scotland, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to gain practical ideas on how to implement calving at two years of age.

Her scholarship is funded by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. She is also being sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Butchers.

Ms Pick added: “Heifers are the lifeblood of a suckler business.

“They are also a big investment and research has found this cost can be reduced by calving heifers at two years of age - however only around 35 per cent of English suckler producers carry out the practice.”

Following her travels, which start with a trip to Scotland in June, Ms Pick will present her research to peers at the Nuffield Farming conference as well as to other farmer groups.