EBLEX conference: Hit target specification to drive out costs

With more than 75 events completed, EBLEX‘s Better Returns West Midlands initial two-year programme drew to a close with a conference at Worcester highlighting key messages.

Whether livestock is marketed live or direct to slaughter, every producer has a responsibility to ensure stock meet target specification to drive unnecessary costs out of the meat chain.

Clive Brown, EBLEX regional manager for the West Midlands, told delegates there was a raft of hands-on aids to help them get to grips with checking body condition of stock when selecting for slaughter.

“We now have a number of aids including virtual stock selection software and demonstration models that producers can access and improve their skills,” he told delegates.

“For example, abattoir payments for a target R4L cattle carcass are cut by about 10p/kg for a higher fat class, costing producers £12.5m annually in lost revenue. But don’t be surprised, as abattoirs get only 3p/kg for the fat trim sold for processing.”

Bruising and injury sites, the latter often caused by poor hygiene when injecting animals, devalued all carcasses whether cattle or sheep, he warned. “Don’t think just because you sell live it doesn’t matter what the carcass looks like.

“Abattoirs will go back to markets to redress values and all sale prices will be affected. It’s a cost to the sector and somebody somewhere pays.”

For those selling direct to slaughter, being aware of dressing specification for carcasses was important to compare returns. “Some remove kidney knob and channel fat and other trim off the tail head. In lamb carcasses that can be a difference of 1.2kg a big impact on returns.”

Not meeting correct carcass specification can lead to a large loss in revenue.