Tips for preparing your stock for processing
1. your yards
Replace all broken boards in yards and races and make sure all nails are hammered home – this prevents cuts and bruising. Avoid using excessively muddy or wet yards if possible and dust can cause washing problems, particularly with longer fleeced sheep.
2. Animal Handling
Handle your stock so that the animals are under the least amount of stress. As well as being an animal welfare issue, carefully handled stock is less likely to suffer injury and will record a lower pH measure. pH measure is related to meat quality and tenderness and is a measure that is having an increasing emphasis being placed on it.
3. 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.
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.
5. 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. The more information provided the better. Cattle branding is best done using an oil based paint with the owner’s 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.
– Lyndon & Brian Everton