Is the angus carcase getting to large?
Some critical views and warnings about the angus carcase getting too large were put forward at the at the Angus through the Ages conference in Albury (early in 2019) .
Adrian Richardson who is a celebrity chef and runs his own restaurant in Melbourne called La Luna, spoke about the problems faced by the food service industry. Adrian said portion sizes are definitely something that needs to be kept in check. He said there are places that serve thousands of steaks and they like a smaller product that can fit on the plate whilst maintaining a reasonable thickness.
We all know that feeling. We like to serve a thick steak and if you have to cut it in half to get the right portion size it looks ordinary or it is just wasteful.
Adrian, while recognising the larger primal is creating problems said his biggest issue with beef is quality and consistency.
Carcase weights on the rise.
Carcase weights of the Angus breed have risen consistently over the past few decades and this was addressed several times during the conference. The fact that carcase weights have risen about 2kg per year on average since 1989 means that we need a check and balance sometime soon.
While a 400kg carcase that provides a 400 gram steak sounds wonderful, we have to balance this with the efficiency for the angus cow/calf breeder. A large cow really does take more looking after.
We tend to follow in the footsteps of the US who are running into huge problems with large primals. In some cases they are cutting the traditional steaks in half in order to keep the thickness. It is a big problem and one we should be ready for in Australia and reverse where the angus breed is already heading.
We see from our regular trips to the USA that it is already turning the corner as far as carcase size goes. The Sires that we look at in the herds right across the country are certainly much more moderate and efficient than what we saw ten years ago.
This may have been driven by cow efficiency more than market pressures though, I feel. Whatever the cause of the downsizing it is a positive move.
For the full article on carcase weights, Jon Condon writes this great article from the conference