New Entrant Group Follow the Production Chain

Published Thursday, 11th February 2016 in SAC Consulting news

Members of the Lanark “New Entrants to Farming” group recently followed a consignment of cattle from the farm through to the abattoir to find out more about managing livestock to meet market needs.

The visits were organised by Lanark based Livestock Business Consultant Robert Logan who is mentoring the group on behalf of SAC Consulting. He received support from colleagues in the beef and sheep team.

“The cattle came from one of the members’ farms,” says Robert. “We weighed them the day before they went to the meat plant and collected details of the ration they had been fed on and dates of birth etc so we could calculate daily liveweight gain and how efficiently that gain was produced.”

“Seeing the cattle on the ground was really useful as it generated debate over weight, fat cover and confirmation. There are only a few in the group who finish cattle but it tied into our discussions over the recent tightening of specifications by abattoirs and what those buying cattle to finish will be looking for at the forthcoming sales of spring store calf sales.”

A few days later the members were at the abattoir to see the cattle on the hook, and compare how they had graded against group estimations. The batch of eight cattle proved to be an excellent example to stimulate discussion, with one overweight, one very lean but with tremendous shape and two others which had been identified as slightly plainer but were nonetheless classed as the required U-grade due to their length and balance throughout.

“We have subsequently estimated gross margins for each animal in the batch,” reports Robert. “It moved the conversation away from just the sales price and allowed us to examine the real production costs and the margin received. The Live - Dead visit proved an interesting and highly worthwhile event for the group.”

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