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Sheep farmers are invited to attend a free meeting at Scotbeef, Bridge of Allan, on Thursday 15 August to help them boost their bottom line by improving their livestock selection and presentation for slaughter.

The meeting is the first of the 2019 ‘Meat the Market’ events organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) which aim to improve the link between farmers and processors and highlight the key factors that need to be considered by farmers to ensure that their livestock meet target carcase specifications required by processors.

The event will help farmers understand the lamb market specifications and how carcase spec may differ based on customer requirements. Carcase grading and presentation will also be covered to help farmers maximise their returns and minimise the risk of condemnations and carcase downgrades.

Attendees will have the opportunity to assess lambs before and after slaughter to see exactly how the grading process works. They will also learn about the factors that need to be considered when selecting livestock for slaughter, including assessment of the dock, loin and rib as well as handling sheep carefully to reduce damage both to carcase and wool.

The key speaker will be George Allan, Divisional Manager with Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL), the only independent provider of abattoir authentication and classification services to the British processing industry.

“These workshops should prove invaluable for sheep farmers and help them improve how they select their prime lambs for slaughter in the future, in order to give them the best financial return.

“Being able to follow lambs through on the same day and compare their own assessments of the live animal and the processed carcase will give those who attend an excellent insight into the whole process and should help them when selecting prime lambs on the farm,” said Mr Allan.

The workshop will also give the producers an opportunity to learn more about the whole supply chain, the differences between different types of sheep and the hygiene requirements at both farm and abattoir and is aimed at both store and finished lamb producers.

“Farmers are rightly focussed on driving down costs of production to improve their profitability,” said Dr Heather McCalman, Knowledge Transfer Manager at QMS, who is organising these meetings.

“Although it can hard to predict returns due to market fluctuations, there is much that can

be done to maximise the returns by presenting clean animals in the target specification in terms of weight, conformation and fat for a particular target market.

“Abattoirs can also provide valuable feedback to producers, including carcase weight and classification, to help them ensure their livestock achieves the correct spec in the future.  Processors can also advise farmers on any potential livestock health issues that may have affected the carcase and resulted in downgrading or condemnations,” said Dr McCalman.

Places for the event on 15 August will be strictly limited so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Refreshments will be provided. Those wishing to attend these events must be over 18 years of age and provide some photo identification.

To book your place for either of the events and for further information about the meetings please contact Heather McCalman