Sheep and beef farmers around Scotland are invited to attend three free meetings to help them boost their bottom line by improving their livestock selection and presentation for slaughter.
They are part of a series of ‘Meat the Market’ events organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) being held around Scotland this winter to highlight the key factors that need to be considered to ensure that their livestock meet target carcase specifications required by processors.
One of the forthcoming meetings will focus on cattle selection and will be held at Stoddarts in Ayr on 13 November, whilst Woodheads in Turriff will host two lamb focused meetings on 14 and 15 November.
All three events will explain market specifications and how carcase spec may differ based on customer requirements. Carcase weights, grading and presentation will also be covered to help farmers maximise their returns and minimise the risk of condemnations and carcase downgrades.
Those who attend will also have the valuable opportunity to visit the processing plants to assess stock before and after slaughter to see exactly how the grading process works.
The key speaker at all three events will be George Allan, Divisional Manager with Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL), the only independent provider of abattoir authentication and classification services to the British processing industry. The company currently conducts independent classification of 82% of all cattle, 78% of all sheep and 72% of all pigs slaughtered in the UK.
With over 40 years’ experience working in the industry and with a sheep flock of his own, Mr Allan provides practical training for UK livestock producers in the selection of live animals to meet buyer requirements, and also to those working in abattoirs who need to develop carcase assessment and classification skills.
He said: “All three workshops should prove valuable for sheep and cattle farmers and help them improve how they select their prime livestock for market in the future in order to give them the best financial return.”
The workshops will also give the producers an opportunity to learn more about the whole supply chain, the differences between different types of cattle and sheep and the hygiene requirements at both farm and abattoir.
"Although focussing on cost of production is fundamental to improving profitability on farm, there are opportunities to maximise returns through careful selection and presentation of stock," said Dr Heather McCalman, Knowledge Transfer Specialist at QMS, who is organising these meetings.
She added: “Presenting clean animals in the target specification in terms of weight, conformation and fat for a particular market can boost returns to farmers. There is also a chance to make use of valuable feedback from abattoirs both from carcase weight and spec as well as any health issues that may cause downgrades or condemnations. These workshops are a great chance to see the whole process and understand the buyers needs and the ultimate customer requirements.”
Grant Moir, Managing Director at Stoddarts in Ayr is delighted to be hosting the cattle focused meeting on 13 November.
He said: “It is a great opportunity for us meet with farmers and helps us all to join up the links in the supply chain, so we can all provide what is needed by both the customer and ultimately the end consumer.”
His enthusiasm for the project is matched by Richard Henderson who is hosting the two lamb focused meetings on 14 and 15 November at Woodheads in Turriff.
He said: “I see these ‘Meat the Market’ events as a real step forward and am very pleased to be welcoming farmers and suppliers to the plant to be able to show them what we are looking for, so we can work together to meet our customer’s needs”
Places for the events on 13, 14 and 15 November will be strictly limited so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Refreshments will be provided. Those wishing to attend these events must be over 18 years of age and provide some photo identification.
To book your place for any of the events and for further information about the meetings please contact Heather McCalman on 07766 330 911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org