Meet the Team: Katie Grantham
This week is Great British Beef Week hosted by Ladies in Beef. To mark it, we’re celebrating our own Ladies in Beef, this time with Katie Grantham.
What is your role at Stabiliser Cattle Company?
I am the Marketing and Sales Executive as well as looking after our Welsh sales and breeders. This means there is no such thing as a typical day for me. One day I can be on farm, looking at bulls or photographing cattle, the next day I’ll be at my laptop updating social media. It’s very varied.
How long have you worked there?
I’ve worked for Stabiliser Cattle Company for two and a half years.
What is the best part of your job?
My favourite part of the job is going out and seeing the farmers. I’m lucky because all of our breeders are very forward thinking so I’m always learning and always hearing new ideas.
What do you love about Stabiliser cattle?
The great thing about Stabilisers is they are backed by so much data, you can really trust they will do what they say. Combined with making farmers’ lives easier they seem a no brainer to me. The farming industry is stressful enough, if we can produce a cow that calves itself, grows well and is easy to handle, we are taking some of that stress away.
How long have you worked in the agricultural industry?
I grew up on a farm in South Yorkshire and was always active on our beef, sheep and arable farm. I then decided agriculture was for me and went on to study it at Harper Adams University, so it’s always been a huge part of my life.
What is it like being a woman in the agricultural industry?
I have heard stories about some people finding it difficult, but I have always found the industry welcoming. I have worked in some varied roles, from arable farms, to wool wrapping in New Zealand and even in abattoirs and I’ve found you just need to work hard to be appreciated. I don’t think you can go far wrong in most industries as long as you are friendly and understanding.
Are there enough opportunities for women wanting to get into the agricultural industry?
I believe there are a lot of opportunities for women to enter the agriculture industry, and rightly so as I believe they offer a great skillset. There is a great range of roles in agriculture, and even though you may not get the dream job straight away it doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
I do believe there is a level of knowledge required to get into the industry, so someone coming into the industry who wasn’t born into it may find it harder. But there are lots of courses available and work experience for those prepared to look for it.
Many of the friends I have made in the industry didn’t grow up on farms and have great jobs, both men and women, so the opportunities are there for those prepared to work for them.
What do you think the future of the beef industry in the UK holds?
I think there is going to be a lot of pressure on farmers to become more efficient and make beef work for them, rather than them working for the beef.
My personal view is Stabilisers are the future because the data we have available means the proof is in the pudding. Also, farmers are going to need to get the most out of their land, the most out of their grazing and their soil health, to ensure the industry remains sustainable.
What makes British beef great?
For me, it is the animal welfare standards. British farmers have some of the highest welfare standards in the world and are extremely passionate about their livestock, which is the way it should be.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.
As a cider drinker I am often creating a new homebrew recipe, I have even dabbled making wine, but I definitely have a while to go before getting a supermarket contract!
We are trying to produce beef that meets market specification and make the most profit possible. Using Stabilisers we are achieving our objectives, we have a low cost, low labour cow and good quality finishing cattle that meet the needs of the market.- Mel and Pete Momber, Hampshire
I’m excited by the prospects the Stabiliser can deliver for us. The proof was there based on scientific research, backed up by a large gene pool and precise management systems. It seemed the perfect breed for our farming system.- Will Evans, Machynlleth
On weaning in May at 10 mths old the Stabiliser calves were on par with the Blue and Angus calves. These were turned out to grass until early September then housed. This is when I was surprised by the differences between the breeds, the Angus averaged 480kg, the Blues 490kg but the Stabilisers were 530kg.- Robin Talbot, Laois – Ireland
In 2011 we bought 46 Stabiliser heifers plus 3 bulls and sold our 3 Belgium Blue bulls. The results were clear to see, by the time we pregnancy tested our 100 cows later that year. We went from historically having 15% barren cows to only 3% barren in a 9 week mating period.- Jeremy Iles, Gloucester
I have found Stabiliser cows to be very forage efficient. Their ability to put weight on in the summer months means I can save on winter feed costs. This has allowed me to keep more cows on the same resources.- Jono Cole, Cornwall
We have an easy-care system that is as profitable as any other beef enterprise. We benchmark our herd against the AHDB industry figure and we sit comfortably ahead of the top third performers. I believe we are now producing a carcass with the conformation and eating quality consistency that the market wants.- Dan Burling, Cambridgeshire
Docility, feed efficiency tested, easy calving, hybrid vigour, fertility, growth AND carcass traits from highly maternal cattle, what’s not like?- Robin Norrie, Fife
We aim to get most out of grass as possible. The hardy nature of the cattle seems to suit this system very well. Hardly any assistance is required during calving, combined with the excellent calf vigour produce healthy and strong calves which further reduces labour costs.- Llion and Sian Jones, Conwy
We’re over 10 years into our Stabiliser journey, we’re reaping the rewards. Moving to the Stabiliser has been a game changer for efficiency and job satisfaction, allowing us to increase cow numbers on the same area and finishing bulls averaging over 380kgs at 13 months. Our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner!- Peter and Jackie Storrow, Pembrokeshire
Stabiliser cattle are a specialised suckler beef breed with the added bonus of hybrid vigour. The cattle are multi-trait performance recorded to produce EBV’s, this has a huge positive economical effect on our business. All of this is crucial for us to have a financially improving suckler herd on the farm.- Harri Parri, Llyn Peninsula
We chose the Stabiliser breed for their docility and easy calving traits, but with the added benefit of turning grass into meat. We soon saw all of these traits were true. Our first home bred steers were finished off grass at an average age of 19 months.- Dyfed Roberts, Anglesey
Despite our rainfall, we outwinter our cows on kale, the stabiliser cow will lay down excess fat, and successfully rear her calf. During the winter considerable cost savings are made. By changing to Stabiliser cattle I keep approximately 50% more cows as they only weigh 650Kgs, which meant more beef being produced.- Matthew Cooke, North Devon
We started using Stabiliser bulls 20 years ago. The fertility of the breed has enabled us to calve our own heifers at 24 months and reduce our calving period to nine weeks. This together with their good temperament has encouraged us to increase cow numbers. Consequently, the farm is now producing a lot more kilos of beef.- Edward and Ellis Griffith, Pwllheli
Minimal labour is required at calving time, with easy calving cows and calves up and suckling in no time at all. This gave us the ability to increase our cow numbers with no extra labour. The growth rate of Stabiliser cattle is exceptional, producing high weaning weights whilst converting feed efficiently.- John and Ianto Pari, Gwynedd
We started using stabiliser genetics in 2016, we have not looked back since, they exceeded all our expectations. Changing to stabilisers has enabled us to calve heifers at 2years old with no problems, cows wean a higher percentage of their body weight, we have increased cow numbers without any need for extra labour.- Carys Jones, Camarthenshire