More beef animals are being sent to the abattoir under-finished at a potential cost to the farmer of up to £51 an animal, reports suggest.

The latest information from Northern Ireland’s Livestock and Meat Commission shows a continuing trend for carcasses to be under-finished, with a 6% reduction in steers classified in fat class four and 5% and a 6% increase in classes one and two.

Dropping from a U3 to a U2 potentially reduces the carcass value by 6p/kg, or 22p/kg if the animal drops to a U1, says Martin Smith of Ufac – UK. He says the quality of the diet is having an effect on carcass grading.

“Energy levels of the diet can be easily boosted by adding a fat supplement. Assuming a 12kg dry matter intake and a 1MJ/kg deficit a kg there would be a need to replace 12MJ. This could be supplied by feeding 600g of a supplement a day for the 50 days finishing period. At about £16.50 an animal this is highly cost-effective giving a return on investment of more than 3:1,” he says.

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