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Average Age of Slaughter Cattle Expected to Fall



 average age of slaughter cattle to fall

The Average Age of Slaughter Cattle Is Expected to Fall


Processors and retailers are set to encourage beef finishers to bring more cattle to slaughter weight at a younger age. This is typified by the introduction of price penalties on cattle that have moved through more than four farms and is aimed at reducing production costs.
 
This is likely to be a reaction to the unprecedented gap between British produced beef and that from the Republic of Ireland, which many believe is unsustainable, or is at least going to halt any significant price rise for ‘home produced’ beef.
 
So, in order to preserve the supply chains the industry is encouraging feeders to produce equally good cattle at a lower cost per kilo – a message which is also being promoted by levy funded bodies including AHDB, Quality Meat Scotland, HCC and the Livestock and Meat Commission as well as breed specific companies like the Beef Improvement Group and Limousin Cattle Society.
 
These groups are arguing that every time an animal is moved it loses weight, drops condition because of diet changes, gathers extra haulage costs and could also be challenged by new disease threats – each of which reduces production performance and output efficiency. Processors especially see the sale of well grown suckled calves by breeders to specialist finishers, or direct transfer from a dairy/beef rearer to a finisher, as the ultimate ideal but recognise that this cannot always be achieved.Their determination to impose penalties on cattle that have moved more than four times is a universal attempt to discourage unnecessary transfers – a development which continues to be especially unpopular with graziers, who for decades have summered older cattle before handing them over to someone else.
 
It is accepted that auction markets perform a valuable function when they transfer suckled calves taken off breeding farms to feeders in distant areas of the country. But processors are critical of movements beyond this, claiming they invariably attract unnecessary costs, including transport and commission, in the region of £40-£50 a head after which production costs provoked by the transfer could add another £30 a head.
 
Therefore, the opportunities to cut the cost of producing rests in reducing the number of days the animal takes to reach the target weight of the finished carcass. Bearing in mind that the cost of rearing the calf to six months and the finishing period of around 90 days is virtually fixed, many farmers do not know the daily cost of the growing stage. Once this has been established, it is possible to take action to reduce the cost and the time taken which will be directly transferred to the bottom line. Many of our customers are successfully achieving this, so it is possible.



Source Details

 Lachie Maclachlan, Beef & Sheep Specialist discusses how the average age of slaughter cattle is expected to fall.



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