Carcasses damaged by selectors finger-prints
Practical advice on stock handling and selection, plus
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drew producers to the Price of Profit demonstration at
Skipton, North Yorks. Jeremy Hunt reports
LAMBS manhandled over the loin, in an effort to discover the level of finish, carry the tell-tale signs of finger-print bruising on the most expensive part of the carcass.
"When carcasses are hung you can see finger-prints all over the flesh of these lambs. Its unbelievable that some farmers still dont realise how much damage they are doing," said MLC carcass service officer David Eden.
But he wasnt just imploring producers to be more careful when selecting their lambs during a hands-on demonstration at the Skipton Livestock Centre venue: "Despite all the advice weve been giving, theres still plenty of room for improvement in being able to tell whether a lamb is carrying the correct finish.
"And its because many producers are still not really confident that we end up with lambs being repeatedly handled roughly over the loin as farmers check and double check for the level of finish."
During the hands-on demonstration, with pens of lambs, he justified his comments by referring to feed-back from exporters. They reckon that for every 100 lambs supplied for the export trade, they were still finding that only 60 were meeting the specifications, he said.
"Its hard to believe, but theres still a big job to do in educating producers about where to feel, how to feel and how to interpret what they can feel.
"While the dock can give a guide, its the loin that gives the real picture. But particularly at this time of year its vital to handle lambs with care in the loin area.
"When they are hung up you can see every finger-print when there has been excessive handling. Its important not to grip over the loin too tightly or press down too heavily and not to exert pressure that will bruise flesh.
"Lambs should be treated like babies. Why take all the time and effort in rearing lambs only to spoil carcass quality the day before theyre slaughtered," said Mr Eden.
Handling lambs to assess finish is vital, but care is needed to avoid leaving finger-print bruising on their carcasses, says David Eden.
• Check level of finish.
• Avoid bruising loin.
• Handle like babies.