Meat the Market: Could poor presentation be wiping value off your stock?

Livestock farmers in Scotland are invited to attend a series of ‘Meat the Market’ meetings to help them boost their bottom line by improving their livestock selection and presentation for slaughter.

Organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the practical events will be held at processing plants around Scotland over the winter and will highlight the key factors that need to be considered to ensure that their livestock meet target carcase specifications required by processors.

The events, which will focus on either beef or lamb, will explain market specifications and how carcase spec may differ based on customer requirements. Carcase grading and presentation will also be covered to help farmers maximise their returns and minimise the risk of condemnations and carcase downgrades.

The first of this series takes place at Kepak MacIntosh Donald near Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, on Tuesday, October 23 and will focus on cattle selection.

Those who attend will also have the opportunity to visit the processing plants to assess stock before and after slaughter to see exactly how the grading process works.

Key speaker

The key speaker at these events will be George Allan, divisional manager with Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL), the only independent provider of abattoir authentication and classification services to the British processing industry.

The company currently conducts independent classification of 82% of all cattle, 78% of all sheep and 72% of all pigs slaughtered in the UK.

With over 40 years’ experience working in the industry and with a sheep flock of his own, Mr. Allan provides practical training for UK livestock producers in the selection of live animals to meet buyer requirements and also to those working in abattoirs who need to develop carcase assessment and classification skills.

“The aim of these events is to help livestock farmers in Scotland optimise their returns,” he said.

The workshops will help farmers put forward livestock that meets abattoir specifications and therefore gives the producer the best financial return.

“These workshops should prove valuable for farmers and help them improve how they select their livestock for the market in the future.”

Meat the Market…and the rest of the chain too

The workshops will also give the producers an opportunity to learn more about the whole supply chain, the differences between breed types and the hygiene requirements at both farm and abattoir.

“Farmers are rightly focussed on driving down costs of production to improve their profitability,” said Dr. Heather McCalman, knowledge transfer specialist at QMS, who is organising the meetings.

Although it can hard to predict returns due to market fluctuations, there is much that can be done to maximise the returns by presenting clean animals in the target specification in terms of weight, conformation and fat for a particular market.

“Abattoirs can also provide valuable feedback to producers, including carcase weight and classification, to help them ensure their livestock achieves the correct spec in the future.

“Processors can also advise farmers on any potential livestock health issues that may have affected the carcase and resulted in downgrading or condemnations,” she added.

Places for the event will be strictly limited so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Refreshments will be provided.

Those wishing to attend these events must be over 18 years of age and bring photo identification.

To book your place and for further information about the series of meetings please contact Heather McCalman via email on: [email protected].