Silver Fern Farms' (SFF) new premium beef product was shown
to about 120 suppliers at a premier selection beef producers'
day at the Silver Fern Farms' Finegand works near Balclutha
They were introduced to SFF's new Eating Quality (EQ) System
for grading beef, which had been in development for about two
years and was designed to ensure each cut of meat met
consistent high standards of quality and taste.
The new premium selection Reserve beef range is to be
launched in about four weeks and is expected to retail for
about $45 a kilogram and will target the high end markets in
New Zealand, Asia and the United States as well as newer
markets such as Dubai.
In addition to tasting the beef cuts during lunch, the
farmers and media were shown through the Finegand works and
given a demonstration by master graders, who showed how each
cut of beef was graded to a consistent standard.
SFF group category manager Grant Howie said grass-fed,
pasture-raised meat was becoming more and more important in
New Zealand's beef story.
Most beef was raised on cattle feedlots in the US so product
that has been grass-fed was an important advantage to New
Zealand in the market.
He said during the past two years, SFF, FarmIQ, scientists
from Texas Tech University and the University of Otago had
been working on various strands of the EQS programme.
The programme involved 38 scientists from New Zealand, the US
and Australia, and researchers had taken more than 97,000
samples of beef, held taste tests for 13,900 people in 17
cities in New Zealand and the US, and taken 2500 DNA samples
from cattle breeds.
''It was the largest ever red meat consumer testing
programme,'' Mr Howie said.
The EQS programme is run at three SFF works, including
The master graders grade for consistency in pH, marbling,
ossification (maturity of carcass), rib fat, meat and fat
colour and eye muscle area.
SFF recently launched the beef into Shanghai, which has 27
million people, and promoted the range on a television
shopping network programme and during the half-hour programme
sold seven tonnes.
Other speakers at the farm producers day included Justin
Marx, of Marx Foods, Seattle, which is a major SFF product
distributor in the US, and he discussed how they sold the
product through restaurants and online.
SFF livestock farming performance manager Lochie MacGillivray
discussed early results of Lincoln University fodder beet and
sugar beet trials.
''Growth rates of two trials was astronomical,'' Mr
During the trial, stock put on 1.8kg/day during winter on
fodder beet and 1.7kg/day on sugar beet. Stock fed on fodder
beet had higher dressing out and surplus energy went into
skeletal growth and laying down fat.
He said there was a consumer preference for fodder beet-fed
meat as it was juicy and tender.
A further trial was being held this year over 16 farms.