Infographic: UK beef carcase quality improving
British prime beef carcases increased in quality in 2013, with 3.8% more reaching the ‘R4L or better’ target than in 2012, according to Eblex’s recent annual carcase classification results.
According to data from the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), which used a sample of more than 430,000 prime cattle, 55% of carcases met the ‘R4L or better’ target market specification. The achievement was even more impressive since the results were in spite of an increase in dairy-bred bull calf registration between 2008 and 2012.
The largest improvements in quality were amongst steer and heifer carcases, while young bull carcases also saw some progress.
Eblex said that, since 2003, the proportion of carcases achieving a conformation class of R or above has increased from 56.7% to 63.5% and those achieving a fat class of 4L or below have increased from 82.9% to 88.1%.
However, there were negatives in the results too. Eblex beef and sheep scientist Dylan Laws said that “20% of heifers were still finished at fat class 4H or higher, which is significantly more than any other type of prime cattle. Although this is a 3% reduction from 2012, the evidence suggests that target fat class in heifers is being sacrificed by chasing higher weights.
“Ensuring cattle are slaughtered at the target fat class will result in savings in feed costs, as fat deposition requires four times more energy than lean tissue.”
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