St Merryn lamb producers once again had the opportunity to showcase their livestock selection skills as Kepak reinstated the lamb carcass competition at their site in Merthyr Tydfil last Tuesday (18th June).

The revitalised event attracted more than 300 carcasses under new ownership and is the largest lamb carcass event of its kind. Around 150 producers attended the showcase and were pleased to have the opportunity to talk with the teams from the factory to see the butchery requirements to meet the needs of modern consumers  and to hear about the innovations that are at the heart of Kepak’s approach to marketing their lamb.

With an emphasis this year on “Hitting the Target” the event, which was sponsored by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, also featured a number of activities to help producers understand market requirements and how reducing their costs by meeting specifications can help them to build sustainable businesses in this pre / post Brexit era.

The judging panel represented all parts of the Welsh lamb supply chain:

  • – Dafydd Davies – a young farmer from Bala who was not only European Shepherd of the Year in 2018 but also the Royal Welsh  Student of the Year 2018.
  • – Huw Beavan of Beavan’s Butchers in Abergavenny – Huw diversified their family farm into butchery 10 years ago and supplies local consumers & food service, hotels & restaurants.
  • – Padrig Jones – the award winning Welsh chef who ran the family-owned restaurant Le Gallois in Cardiff and who has worked as a development chef across food service & retail.

With classes that spanned the commercial weight ranges together with a prize for the best commercial trio, the judges were really impressed with the consistency and quality of the carcasses.

The prize for the Most Consistent Commercial Trio went to WP Bowen & Son from Lambister with an incredible score of 288 / 300. The Best  PGI Welsh Carcass was won by DH Morgan of Llanddeusant and this 20.3kg E3L carcass was also the overall champion.

St Merryn Producer of the Year was awarded to DR & DM Watkins from Vowchurch, Hereford for their commitment to St Merryn over the past 10 years.

John Richards, HCC acknowledged the standard of producers, “We were pleased to be involved in this event, showcasing best practice on how farmers are engaging with and meeting market requirements. The standard was extremely high, with top-quality PGI Welsh Lamb carcases on display.”

Leighton Jones, Lamb Procurement Manager was delighted with the response from producers to the return of the show, “The refreshed format worked really well and it was especially pleasing to see the reaction of producers who had entered for the first time. Hopefully this has inspired them to keep improving their lamb selection and to be on the podium next year!” 

Prys Morgan, St Merryn Procurement Director was also pleased with the feedback from producers and industry representatives, “The event demonstrated Kepak’s commitment to its flagship factory here in Wales and showcased the innovations that Kepak are introducing to add value to our quality lamb product”