Courses aim to share understanding between farmer and processor

This autumn, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is offering a new round of courses aimed at helping beef and sheep farmers to meet the requirements of their markets, and achieve the best price for their animals.

The carcase selection courses, delivered by HCC at abattoirs, help producers to gain a unique insight into how livestock finishing and selection affects meat processing. Previous rounds of these popular training courses have been attended by more than 400 red meat producers.

“The aim of the courses is to share understanding between farmers and processors,” explained HCC’s Industry Development Officer Luned Evans. “Being aware of trends in retail preferences can help farmers to select their livestock in the way that best meets the abattoirs’ requirements. Ensuring that these specifications are met is also a sure way for farmers get the highest possible price.”

Aaron Hughes, a student at Gelli Aur who farms with his family near Llangadog in Carmarthenshire, attended one of the HCC Carcase Selection courses earlier this year.

Following the course, Aaron feels he has a greater understanding of how to tailor his lamb-finishing systems to the requirements of the processors, maximising returns for the whole sector.

“Producing animals that do not meet the desired specifications of the abattoir creates cost for everybody in the supply chain – including the producer,” said Aaron. “Although a lot of things are outside our control, it’s surprising what impact we as producers can have on aspects such as shelf life and eating quality.”

Luned Evans added; “The courses cover live selection and assessment, carcase classification, current abattoir and consumer requirements and animal health and welfare. Courses will run on a number of dates in October and November. Places are limited to 8 per session, but anyone who is interested is welcome to get in touch with HCC on 01970 625050.”