Call to end carcass dressing confusion

By FW staff

CLEARER deadweight pricing comes a step closer this week as the newly formed Livestock Marketing Alliance takes its case to the Meat and Livestock Commission.

Members of the LMA, which include the Livestock Auctioneers Association, beef, sheep and pig national associations and farming unions, are calling for an end to the confusion caused by different carcass dressing specifications.

There are currently four specifications acknowledged by the industry and the MLC, as well as abattoirs own models.

Producers therefore do not know on what weight the payment is based, making it impossible to compare on a price a head basis across abattoirs and auctions, says the LMA.

All carcasses should be weighed at the same stage of carcass trim, and farmers should be paid on that basis, says LMA chairman Norman Bagley. “My personal opinion is that scales should be installed before animals are killed as they come down the race.”

Payments can be tailored to suit the degree of dressing needed to fit customer requirements, he adds. “This way, at least producers will know what they are being paid.”

The national specifications have evolved in response to differing customer demands, explains Tony Blackburn, operations group manager of the MLC.

However, a small number of plants have decided to adopt their own specifications, he adds. “We shall be talking with the industry with a view to determine a strategy to clarify the position in future.”

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