Farmers should be paid to bring their animals into factory housing the night before slaughter

It’s a huge advantage for processors to have cattle in their barns the night before slaughter, so why aren’t farmers being compensated for bringing them in?

Hose stocks, for example, provide their own labor and transportation costs on a Sunday evening so that the factories can start operations on time the next morning.

Farmers never seem to question whether those long hours before slaughtering in a strange location make a difference in slaughter weights.

Processors subtract 2 from the kill-out weight for carcass shrinkage before payment, but the amount of shrinkage is directly related to the amount of fat cover on a carcass.

More fat coverage means less shrinkage.

It is strange that this 2 percent deduction has never been seriously challenged by the farming community.

Another area that needs to be examined is what the government’s plan to reduce the average age at slaughter to 24 months would mean for the operation of the sorting machines.

Such a drastic change in age profile means lower carcass weights. The grading tolerances that these machines operate within were originally calculated following extensive testing at Dawn Meats’ Midleton facility in 1999.

And what about the grid pricing system, the QPS, that builds on that data and Teagasc studies from that time period, which used much of her-bred stock?

How does reducing the age profile affect the conformation and fat scores?

Factory quotes for stocks were broadly flat last week for both steers and heifers based at €4.80-4.85/kg and these prices are expected to remain flat for this week.

However, as the total kills remain at 34-35k per week, some factories have been reported offering bases below these levels, but I have had no reports of sellers accepting less than €4.80/kg.

Despite their continued need for stock to fill orders ahead of schools and universities reopening, factories appear to have given up hopes that bases could return to €5.00/kg in the last 10 days, with spikes of €4.90/kg.

Notations for discarded cows and young bulls have also solidified, with O grades ranging from €4.60/kg for colored types to €4.40/kg for Friesians, while better P scores at 4.30-4, 40 €/kg lie.

On the young bulls side it’s also largely the same as yours, with bases for the under 16 months at €4.80-4.85/kg mark; For those up to 24 months, U-classes continue at €4.90-5.00/kg with Rs €4.80-4.85/kg.

However, full charges help in negotiations.

In short, mills have managed to get a better handle on operations given these continued strong numbers and the fact that grass growth remains limited in many areas. Farmers should be paid to bring their animals into factory housing the night before slaughter

Fry Electronics Team

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