Laura heads down under for beef study

Grant winner Laura Mitchell

Grant winner Laura Mitchell

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Berwick’s Laura Mitchell of Mount Pleasant Farm has won a grant to study in Australia and New Zealand.

The 21-year-old, daughter of award-winning farmers Ian and Jane, will spend four months in Australasia learning about beef eating quality characteristics and how they can be manipulated by farm management.

Laura said: “This trip will give me a valuable insight into the benefits of eating satisfaction grading systems and I aim to bring home some valuable best practice guidelines to share with the Scottish beef industry.”

UK beef producers are paid by conformation and fatness classifications, but critics believe this is subjective.

Thanks to her Roy Watherston Memorial Trust grant, Laura hopes to learn how Meat Standards Australia classifies cuts by eating satisfaction, a method shown to improve beef quality and consistency.

The Reston Young Farmer has worked in the rural payments and inspections department of the Scottish government since graduating in agriculture from Newcastle University.

The Mitchells also have 650-acre Courthill, near Hawick, where Jane’s family have farmed for six generations, growing barley and running a suckler herd. The family diversified also into caravan storage and landscaping.

In 2007 Jane and Ian won the Enhancing the Natural Beauty category of the Beautiful Farm awards for combining a successful farming business with sustainability. They were also prizewinners in the Borders Crop and Grassland Management competition earlier this year.