7 April 2000

Top carcass, less waste

HIGH grade carcasses mean less waste for one Northern Irish producer retailer family. Aiming for U3 and R3 carcasses means more saleable meat for local outlets that they supply.

Pat Kelly and son, Padraig, of Crocan Quality Meat, farm near Innishative, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone. The farm supports a 60-cow, Friesian cross Limousin spring-calving suckler herd. Finished Limousin cross cattle from the herd are either sold to a local abattoir or cut up at sold from the units butchery facility.

"We have about three cattle a week killed at Omagh Meats where they hang for two weeks before carcasses are returned to the farm. Killing costs £47.50/animal," says Padraig.

Back at the farm, cattle are butchered in a facility erected five years ago using a diversification grant, says Pat. "Building the butchery area and installing equipment and chillers cost £45,000, 45% of which was funded by a diversification grant."

The family employs a full time butcher to cut up cattle and lambs which are sold to 20 local hotels and restaurants, and through the farm shop which opens at weekends. "While these customers account for prime beef sales, it is important to look after take away customers who provide outlets for fore-quarter beef as beef burgers."

Minimising waste through good breeding is high on the familys list of priorities. "We aim to kill cattle at 14-16months, producing a 300kg carcass. Cattle which grade U3 give us 75% saleable meat compared with 70% saleable meat for an R3," says Padraig. &#42