While steers and heifers showed a small improvement in the number attaining target specification, the number of young bull carcases
classified 'R4L or better' increased from 53% to 57%.
from the progeny of a superior sire should be heavier and yield more meat than those of a sire with a lower RBY slaughtered at the same stage of fat cover.
The number of carcases
meeting the standard has risen from 39% in 1998 to 50% in 2000, according to analysis by Eblex.
Only drowned sheep carcases
can be disposed of in this way.
Practical guidance to support continued improvements in carcase quality is available free of charge to English levy payers through the EBLEX Beef Better Returns Programme, accessible at www.eblex.org.uk
According to the new EBLEX figures, 48% of prime beef carcases met the preferred 'R4L or better' specification during 2007.
In addition, the European Food Standards Authority has supported the approach as it says there is no evidence of any link between classical and/or atypical scrapie and TSEs in humans, further evidence that the splitting of sheep carcases
has become outdated.
Overall, MLC classification reports for more than 200,000 prime cattle slaughtered in England in 2006 show 46% of prime beef carcases meeting the preferred "R4L or better" specification.
For the first time in recent years the proportion of carcases meeting the "R or better" target for conformation in 2006 exceeded 50%, suggesting breeding improvements could now be having a positive effect alongside better management.
MLC meat scientist Kim Matthews said: "English producers are continuing to prove especially adept at marketing their animals at the correct level of fatness, less than 15% of all prime beef carcases
are grading 4H or worse.
Alison Middleton, prosecuting for the local authority, said the regulations requiring prompt removal of dead animals from farmland were aimed at preventing the spread of disease, either through watercourses or to other livestock through scavengers feeding from carcases
MLC beef scientist Mary Browne said: "Average carcase
weights varied widely at any given slaughter age, with large proportions weighing under 250kg and over 300kg at every age.