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Decrease in Carcase Covers in 2nd Quarter

23 July 2013

UK - Leaner dairy calf carcases are still the norm in slaughterhouses, reports the Livestock and Meat Commission.

Table 1 outlines the fat scores awarded to the price reported prime kill sourced from the suckler herd during the period April-June 2012 and the corresponding period in 2013,.

When comparing the two periods there has been a general movement towards lighter fat covers, write analyst at LMC.

The processors want prime cattle carcases that have been adequately finished to meet customer specifications with fat cover score ideally a 3 or 4 ( - or =). In the 2012 period 36.2 per cent of prime carcases from the suckler herd were classified as a 4 for fat cover but during the corresponding period in 2013 this was back 8.2 percentage points to account for 28 per cent of the suckler origin prime kill.

Meanwhile the number of carcases awarded a 3 for fat cover increased slightly from 49.1 per cent
ofthe suckler sourced prime kill in th 2012 period to 51.2per cent kill in the 2013 period.

In the 2012 period the proportion of suckler origin carcases awarded a fat cover of 3 or 4 totalled 85.3 per cent. In the same period on 2013 this was back by 6.1 percentage points to
account for 79.2 per cent of the suckler origin prime kill.

Meanwhile the proportion of suckler origin carcases awarded a 2 forfat coverincreased by 5.4 percentage points to account for 17.6 per cent of the suckler origin prime kill with the proportion of
carcases awarded a fat cover of 1 increasing to 1.9 per cent.

This movement towards lighter fat covers is likely to be a result of the difficult production conditions experienced by producers over the previous 12 months. These production difficulties and increasing beef production costs combined with problems in the quality of feed stuffs on many farms during winter 2012 and spring 2013 will have had an importantrole to play in the increased
proportion of leaner carcases produced. 

Chart 1 outlines the fat score allocations for the NI price reported prime kill forthe 13 week period April June 2013 broken down by suckler an dairy origin cattle. A larger proportion of dairy origin carcases are awarded fat scores of 1 or 2 when compared to their suckler counterparts and this can be linked back to the influence of their dairy genetics.

The proportion of dairy origin cattle awarded a 4 for fat cover has declined by 6.4 percentage points year on year while the proportion awarded a 3 has declined by 1.5 percentage points. This
has meant that the proportion of dairy origin cattle meeting fat cover 3 or 4 has declined from 68.6 per cent in the 2012 period to 60.7 per cent in the 2013 period. 

Meanwhile the proportion of the dairy origin kill awarded a 2 has increased by 5.5 percentage points year on year to account for 29.9 per cent with the proportion of dairy origin carcases awarded a 1 for fat cover increasing by 2.7 percentage points to 8.8 per cent of the dairy origin kill. 

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