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Stackyard News May 09

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Pre-Sale Weighing of Cattle Can Boost Earnings

Finishers should weigh all their cattle immediately before sale, and also calculate income per head against the banked cheque, if they want to discover which of the outlets within their selling range is offering the best return.


John Swan

This advice is offered by the National Beef Association, which says that if beef producers do not establish correct weight calculations, feeders will not be able to work out which of their cattle are making the most money.

“Members, who sell both live weight and deadweight, tell us they can consistently earn an average of around £12-£16 per head more at current prices by tallying the ex-farm weight against the net price paid after all deductions and then sending as many cattle as possible to the best paying company,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.

“So our advice to those who have not yet embarked on this important exercise is to set up a system in which they weigh all their finished cattle at the same stage in the routine during which they leave the farm, delay estimates of income earned until they have received a cheque to bank, which will be net of all deductions, and then put a consistent charge against transport.”

“Charges can vary from between £10-£22 a head depending on the company used and it is always good practice to check the killing out percentage by comparing the live weight of the animal when it left the farm against the weight of the carcase when it was checked for payment.”

“There are considerable variations between abattoirs because not all of them use the same dressing specification and variations in trim can make pence per kilo prices look superficially attractive when deeper calculations can show income per carcase to be disappointing,” Ms Haywood added.

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