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Producing what the customer wants

John Scott Meat, founder members of SAMW, trace their progress from 1968 to the present day

From humble beginnings selling eggs and cattle from the family farm to their local butcher in 1968, John Scott Meat has evolved into a successful family business selling Scottish Beef and Lamb directly to independent butchers, Smithfield market and high-end restaurants across the length of the UK.

From their facilities in Paisley, the company now processes 15,000 cattle and 16,000 lambs a year, producing what the customer wants, which is not only important for the company but is something that is encouraged at farm level. This has involved moving away from finishing livestock at any age or bodyweight, which often results in an inconsistent end product, to focussing on steady growth on controlled rations, all built to produce a high value end-product at the desired size and quality, as demanded by the client and subsequently the consumer.

This is particularly important in the UK, where we have such variation in breeds and feeding systems resulting in carcasses often covering a wide range of ages, conformation and eating quality, which are hard to sell and quickly reduce the average achievable selling price. The company’s aim is to source cattle and lambs within a well-defined carcass criterion to guarantee a consistent eating experience, attract the highest possible price and help grow their client business by boosting consumer confidence.

Another benefit of matching the quality of each carcass with the requirements of each individual client is that, over many years, John Scott Meat have been able to establish which feeding practices, breed and age produce the best results for each end market.  This invaluable information is often used by producers to adjust feeding and management strategies to produce a carcass that is consistently at the ideal weight, fat score and composition and achieves the highest possible price.

One example of this is the trade with clients at Smithfield who value a smaller carcass with high level of marbling and creamy fat cover. To meet these specific requirements, Simmental cross heifers are reared at grass before being finished at 22 months old on a 50:50 TMR mix of grass silage and a be-spoke finisher blend, containing high levels of alkaline Alpha Barley and Alpha Maize for colouration and marbling.

“The heifers have been flying on the new finishing ration, with excellent fat cover and grading out extremely well at R3/4L with nice creamy fat cover,” said Jamie Scott. “Carcass weight and confirmation were exactly where we need them to be and the heifers are like peas-in-a-pod, which is exactly what we are looking for.  We even finished lambs ad-lib on the same finisher blend, with no signs of gravel, excellent dung consistency and the lambs easily achieving our target of U/R3L at 23kg deadweight.”