Tyrone beef farmer Steven Thompson wins M&S farming award
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As the Farming Innovation Award winner in Ireland, Steven was invited to receive his award during the M&S Select Farm Awards ceremony on the M&S stand at this year's Balmoral Show. The judges commended Steven for his utilisation of technology to monitor his calf rearing and wagyu beef finishing enterprises.
"I use AgriWebb software to regularly record growth rates, which allows me to monitor livestock to ensure the animals are performing as well as they should be and manage them appropriately if they are not," explains Steven. "I also use it to assist me with my grassland management to, again, ensure that I am getting the performance that I would expect to be getting, and I am not overusing fertiliser."
The adoption of technology has helped Thompson Farms streamline its 160-head calf rearing unit and wagyu beef finishing enterprise, both of which are on contract with M&S supplier ABP Linden Foods. "Sharing the live information I gather with ABP Linden Foods
helps them plan, as they know when cattle are likely to be ready for them," adds Steven.
Keith Williamson, of ABP Linden Foods, comments: "Steven's proactive use of technology really helps him get the best out of his livestock and his land. The transparency he provides using it is second to none. It really helps organise our working relationship with Thompson Farms, which ultimately ensures his high-quality produce makes it to M&S shelves in an effective and timely manner."
Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture and Fisheries at M&S, said: "Every day, our Select Farmers and suppliers go to extraordinary lengths to deliver great quality M&S food, whilst demonstrating best-in-class innovation, animal welfare, sustainability and biodiversity.
"Steven is a great example of a Select Farmer whose commitment to innovation is delivering wins not just for himself, but those who work with his business. His dedication and commitment to choosing an innovative system should be greatly admired."
As regional winner of the Farming Innovation Award, Steven was presented with a certificate and M&S hamper on the M&S stand during this year's Balmoral Show.