National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Beef farmers invited to visit top cattle finishing farm

8th February 2016

Region: National

Charlie Wills and Mike Wills
Charlie Wills and Mike Wills

NBA organises farm walk at Upper Coton to share best practice tips

The National Beef Association (NBA) has teamed up with Northamptonshire beef farmer Mike Wills, and is inviting people to join a farm walk to share some of the secrets of his successful cattle finishing business.

As the of voice the sector, the NBA is organising the event with Mr Wills to pass on some best practice tips on how finishers can improve their margins, and give them the opportunity to view his top quality stock.

The walk will take place at Upper Coton Farms, Guilsborough, Northants, on Tuesday February 23 at 1pm, and is supported by Caltech - Crystalyx. Mr Wills, 67, who runs the farm with his wife Jane and son Charlie, 26, currently has around 700 cattle on the holding. The farm finishes around 1,200 head of cattle a year, sourcing outdoor-reared hill farm stock aged eight to 12 months, and selling mainly through the live auction mart system.

Mr Wills said: “I’m looking forward to welcoming NBA members and other farmers to Upper Coton to see how we do things here.

“I hope the event will give people an insight into our business and how we work our business to maximise our margins.”

Upper Coton Farms selects mainly Limousins based on their conformation and future potential and markets the finished stock through Selby Auction Marts. The farm currently has around 600 steers and 120 heifers, and aims to sell around 25 animals each week. Once new stock arrives on the farm, the animals are sorted into even groups, where they are kept until they are finished. Fat cattle are picked out for the mart when they reach grades 3/4.

The Wills’ finishing programme involves feeding maize, wheat and barley that is all grown onsite, mixed with other by-products, as part of the family’s efforts to produce the best quality animals and manage the land as sustainably as possible.

Visitors will receive a comprehensive factsheet about the farm and the methods used by the Wills family. After the farm walk, Chris Mallon, Chief Executive from the NBA, will discuss the visit and share the latest news and developments in the industry.

Speaking in advance about the open day Chris said:

“Mike Wills is a tremendous finisher of cattle and supporter of the livestock auction mart system, we’re grateful to him for agreeing to share his methods as an example of best practice in the industry.  This is a great example of a family business producing the best of finished cattle to the highest of standards with sustainability at the heart of the business. Those attending will see traditional quality and modern expertise.”

“The NBA exists to support and promote the British beef industry and our farmers, and a key part of that is education, to ensure that as an industry we improve our competitiveness and margins.

“Upper Coton Farms is an excellent example of a working farm with a high turnover of prime cattle through the auction mart route, and we’re hoping visitors will be able to take away ideas that they can use to boost business on their own farms.”

The farm walk, supported by Caltech - Crystalyx takes place at Upper Coton Farms, Coton Road, Guilsborough, Northamptonshire, NN6 8RE. It is free to attend and open to everyone on a first come, first served basis, although priority will be given to NBA members. The event starts at 1pm and tea, coffee and light snacks will be provided.

To book your place please contact NBA head office on 01434 601005 or email [email protected]



Media Enquiries – Glendale PR – 01668 283044 – [email protected]

Chris Mallon Chief Executive – 01434 601 005 – [email protected]

National Beef Association, Mart Centre, Tyne Green, Hexham – 01434601005, i[email protected]


The National Beef Association is recognised as the Beef Cattle Industry’s consultative body and the voice for a wide range of beef related national industry committees which direct national beef industry policy. They are a company registered by guarantee and membership is open to everyone with an interest in the British Cattle Industry. 

The NBA is there to preserve and improve for the benefit of the public, the general standards of cattle, especially beef cattle, in the United Kingdom, by promoting and encouraging the breeding of beef cattle.

Their aims are to:

•         Identify and promote highest possible levels of best practice throughout the production chain

•         Achieve a return that allows quality welfare and standards in the chain to rise

•         Raise cattle health standards in the UK

•         Develop beef eating and health benefits to consumers

•         Improve and widen the scope of beef labelling for the benefits of consumers

•         Identify and promote the environmental benefits where appropriate of grazing cattle

•         Maintain beef cattle in the uplands and the communities and landscapes that they sustain

•         Relief of hardship of beef farmers and their employees