EBLEX Live to Dead Event

On Tuesday 27th January, we held the first of our 2015 Live to Dead Cattle Grading Events at our Skellingthorpe plant, in association with EBLEX's Better Returns Programme...
Tuesday 27th January saw the first of our 2015 Live to Dead events, held at our Skellingthorpe site in Lincolnshire. Live to Dead is a practical and informative cattle classification event run in association with EBLEX’s Better Returns Programme, which aims to give producers a better understanding of how to bring cattle to the required specification in order to improve their returns.

A small group of producers from various schemes joined several members of the Livestock team for the event, which was hosted by EBLEX’s Steve Powdrill and David Eden. Emphasizing the purpose of these training days, Steve stated: 

"We need to improve communication throughout the supply chain and to connect producers with the end product. The best way to understand various key factors is to see, smell and touch and the best way to achieve this is a walk through the chain, such as a live to dead event. Hitting the target spec, whatever that may be, is rewarding for all. Anyone breeding or finishing commercial livestock isn't merely a livestock producer, but more importantly, a meat producer."

The day began with Steve giving a short introduction to the principles of cattle grading and identifying the key areas of a live animal to check when assessing fat coverage and conformation. The producers were then taken into the lairage, where they were given the opportunity to handle a select group of Hereford cattle and with guidance from Steve and David, estimate the final grade and dead-weight of each animal.

The group then gathered in the maturation chiller, where they compared the live assessments they had made to the actual carcass grades. After breakfast, the morning was concluded with a presentation from Steve which displayed visual examples of cattle at various grades and the resulting primal cuts. The presentation also examined well known and lesser known cuts of beef and the effect that different cattle weights can have on the final beef products.

Overall, the Live to Dead was a great success, which provided our producers with an opportunity to practice and improve their classification skills in an informal and educational setting. 

who farms Aberdeen Angus cattle in Lincolnshire said of the event, "It was a very good day, and even though I have been to one of these events before, you learn a lot through the hands on experience on how to get the cattle right for Dovecote. Anyone who sends cattle to a processor ought to go to one of these!" Matthew, who farms Hereford cattle in northern Herefordshire had the chance to assess his own cattle at the event and stated, "It’s the second one I have done, and it is surprising how much you learn doing it again. The more times you do it, and the more you handle them, the better you get at it." 

We would like to thank the producers who joined us at this event and Steve and David for their time and expertise. . If you are interested in attending a future Live to Dead event, please contact our livestock office.