Morrisons champions technology for Scottish lamb quality

Morrisons has unveiled prototype technology to help producers increase the quality performance of their lambs at slaughter.

The new technology, being trialled at the retailer's Aberdeenshire meat plant, uses sheep electronic identification (EID) tags to give producers detailed quality performance data on the performance of lambs at the abattoir. It is intended to help farmers make breeding decisions at a farm level, based on the performance evidence of the carcase, which will enable them to consistently deliver high-quality lambs to slaughter.

The technology, unveiled at the Royal Highland Show, has been developed by Morrisons in close co-operation with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the government-funded livestock traceability company ScotEID.

Morrisons agriculture manager Louise Welsh said: "As Scotland's largest processor of lambs we are delighted to work with the industry to develop an in-plant system that can take an accurate supply of performance data from the individual carcase right back to farm level. We're confident we can help our farmer suppliers maximise the potential offered by the introduction of EID tagging. Not only can it improve their efficiency, it can also help further improve the quality of the lamb that we sell in our stores."

QMS chairman Jim McLaren said: "This initiative, which advances the technology to a stage where individual ear tag numbers can be linked to carcase weights and grades, is a major step forward for farmers interested in finding out what their returns are from specific breeds or breeding lines. This will help to improve the efficiency of the Scottish sheep industry and producers' bottom lines by giving them information they have never had easy access to previously."

Ian Watson, chairman of Farmstock (Scotland), the country's largest lamb co-operative and a major supplier to Morrisons, said: "This is really exciting news and has the potential to transform the way we manage our sheep breeding programmes."

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