Carcase Classification - Beef 

Abattoirs slaughtering over 75 cattle a week are required to classify carcasses to the EUROP grid. The grid was introduced in the 1970's; the reason for its introduction was so that a uniform classifying system could be used throughout Europe, it also meant that producers could be rewarded for supplying beef with the carcase classification that the market demanded. The carcase is assessed for conformation and fat; both are determined by a visual appraisal.

Conformation

The conformation class is determined by a visual appraisal of shape, taking into account carcass blockiness and development of muscle in the hind quarters. No adjustment is made for the influence of fatness on overall shape. There are five main classes: E, U, R, O, P. (where E=excellent and P=poor) In Great Britain classes P, O, and U are sub-divided into - and +.

Fatness

The fat class is determined by a visual appraisal of external fat development. There are five main classes ranging from 1 (very lean) to 5 (very fat). In Great Britain, classes 4 and 5 are sub-divided into L (leaner) and H (fatter).

Price differentials

In order to reward farmers for producing beef that is demanded by the market, classification is linked to price and it generally provides the basis for the transaction between the farmer and abattoir. It is therefore in the producer's interest to know the target areas within the classification grid which attract premium payments. In most cases the premium payments will be associated with classifications with the highest market demand.

 (Hover cursor over table to see the differing classification specification)

Increasing Fatness
Improving Conformation
(p/kg) 1 2 3 4L 4H 5L 5H
E              
U+              
-U              
R              
O+              
-O              
P+              
-P              

Selecting for the market

The ability to assess cattle both visually and by handling is an essential skill for a beef producer. It provides vital feedback to monitor the progress of animals, spot ailments and adjust feed regimes. By regularly weighing and recording, in order to monitor how animals are progressing towards finish, it is possible to adjust feeding regimes to bring stock to market at the best time.

HCC are offering farmers an opportunity to improve their returns when marketing finished cattle and sheep through the Cattle and Sheep Selection for Slaughter Training Programme. These training events are free to all farmers in Wales and provide practical demonstrations and 'hands on' experience at an abattoir, assessing live animals through to assessment of carcases, Click here to register if you are interested in attending this programme.

 
Conformation: Excellent
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Medium/Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Excellent
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.3
Conformation: Excellent
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.4
Conformation: Excellent
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.2
Conformation: Excellent
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Excellent
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Excellent
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Very Good
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Medium/Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Very Good
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.9
Conformation: Very Good
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 2.1
Conformation: Very Good
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 1.6
Conformation: Very Good
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.2
Conformation: Very Good
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Very Good
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Good
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Medium/Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Good
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 1.5
Conformation: Good
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 5.9
Conformation: Good
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 7.9
Conformation: Good
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 2.1
Conformation: Good
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Good
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Average
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Average
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 2.5
Conformation: Average
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 11.5
Conformation: Average
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 19.3
Conformation: Average
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 7.1
Conformation: Average
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.5
Conformation: Average
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 1.6
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: Medium/High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 6.1
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: Medium/High
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 9.8
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Medium
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 3.3
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.3
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Medium/Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 2.2
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: Medium/Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 5.3
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: Medium/Low
% of GB Carcases in 2008: 3.7
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.5
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Fair
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Poor
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Poor
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.8
Conformation: Poor
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.8
Conformation: Poor
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.3
Conformation: Poor
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Poor
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Poor
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Very Poor
Fatness: Very Lean
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Very Poor
Fatness: Lean
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Very Poor
Fatness: Optimum
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: 0.1
Conformation: Very Poor
Fatness: Acceptable
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Very Poor
Fatness: Slightly Over
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Very Poor
Fatness: Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
Conformation: Very Poor
Fatness: Very Fat
Market Demand: Low
% of GB Carcases in 2014: less than 0.1
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