A NEW, free online tool for improved selection and management of finished beef cattle and sheep for slaughter will help bolster profit margins of livestock farmers.

For decades just 60% of lambs, hit the desired carcase specification in slaughter houses, with the figure for cattle ranging between 70 and 80%.

The Meat the Grade virtual tool should help boost those figures by providing producers with the skills and knowledge to maximise their returns and minimise the risk of condemnations and carcase downgrades.

Developed by Quality Meat Scotland, it also aims to assist livestock farmers in the various levels of cover required on animals for finishing.

Beth Alexander, QMS cattle and sheep specialist, said that the tool would enable farmers to understand the grading system better.

“Our aim is to help Scotland’s livestock farmers optimise their returns and understand carcase grading, and presentation to ensure they hit the correct specification for their chosen market. Hitting target specifications means more return for the producer and less waste for the processor,” said Beth.

“The Meat the Grade tool will demonstrate how the EUROP grading system works as well as providing valuable market driven insights to stock selection, carcase specification and grading techniques to ensure that livestock meet target carcase specifications required by processors and therefore maximise the best price for farmers.”

Developed to complement the successful face-to-face Meat the Market events held earlier in the year; Meat the Grade will allow farmers to access the same information from the comfort of the farm office 24/7.

The tool will also give producers an opportunity to learn more about the whole supply chain, the hygiene requirements, and insight into the products consumers want to buy.

Meat the Grade is now available to access by visiting the Quality Meat Scotland website: www.qmscotland.co.uk/meatthegrade