Heavier carcases could impact incomes, says AHDB Beef & Lamb report

Heavier beef carcases – produced to deliver the highest lean meat yield to score premiums – could incur penalties if processors reduce their maximum weight limits. 

A report from the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) Beef & Lamb sector found that 40% of steers slaughtered in Great Britain in February of this year had a carcase weight of over 380 kilograms. This is up from 36% on the same period in the previous year.

The report is the first in a series of analyses aimed at improving the transparency of price reporting data.

Evidence shows that the proportion of heifer and young bull carcases above the 380kg weight was also higher this year.

“These carcases currently attract some of the highest average prices, on a pence per kilogram basis, as many processors pay bonuses for them,” said Stephen Howarth, market specialist manager for AHDB Market Intelligence.

“However, there is a risk that new penalties for being overweight will actually reduce their value.

“This could potentially have significant implications for those producers who are currently aiming to deliver animals with the highest conformation. They might need to adjust their system towards producing lower-conformation, lighter animals.”

It was also shown that the distribution of carcases by conformation and fat class changed over the year to February 2016.

The full report can be accessed here.

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