Be aware of regular changes to livestock preparation requirements
For example, chilled destined product can only be washed once before slaughter. At present the schedule does not fully reflect how livestock are presented for slaughter and the subsequent affects this has on eligibility for specific processes and markets. It is forseeable in the future that livestock payments will contain rewards for stock presentation.
Issues that relate to livestock presentation for slaughter are emptying out of livestock prior to trucking, stockyard conditions, wool length, stock crate condition and animal handling. Animal welfare is a very important issue that is gaining prominence and this is especially so in our developed markets.
1. Emptying out
All livestock should be taken off feed at least four hours prior to trucking. Full animals increase faecal stain and increase the washing time at the plant. Most animal classes do not lose dressed carcass weight in the first 24 hours if water is provided. All yards at Taylor Preston are watered.
4. Stock Crate Condition
Carriers are responsible for keeping stock crates clean and ensuring maintenance is up to standard. Emptying stock out helps with this. Any concerns regarding stock crate conditions should be reported to your livestock agent.
Replace all broken boards in yards and races. Ensure all nails are hammered home. This prevents cuts and bruising. Try to avoid using excessively muddy or wet yards if possible. Dust can also cause washing problems particularly with longer fleeced sheep.
5. Animal Handling
This is a welfare issue but also has implications on the quality of the final product. Actions should be taken that places the animal under the least amount of stress. Carefully handled animals are less likely to suffer injury and will record a lower pH measure. pH measure is related to meat quality and tenderness. It is a measure that more emphasis is now being placed on.
3. Wool Length
The optimum wool length is 4-5cm or half a finger. Any longer than this then the washing and drying time is increased. The butchers like some wool to grip, though too much increases contamination. Less wool is preferable to more.
In addition to livestock presentation suppliers should ensure their livestock is clearly identified. It is a case of the more information provided the better. Cattle branding is best done using an oil based paint with the owners initials marked on the animal. The colour used, brand and area of animal marked should be recorded on the trucking card and vendor declaration form. Other useful information is animal breed and earmark/tags.