asked the Minister of Food what is the number of Grade A and Grade B fat cattle and sheep purchased at grading centres in the last six months; and the number of Grade A and Grade B beef and mutton carcasses sold during the last six months.
During the six months ended 30th September, 725,640 cattle were purchased at collecting centres in Great Britain in the grades "Special" and "A," whilst 199,364 were purchased in the live grades "B." In the same period 224,744 tons of beef representing approximately 899,096 cattle (including those received alive or in the form of fresh meat from Eire and Northern Ireland) were sold as "A" quality and 58,987 tons representing approximately 245,948 cattle were sold as "B" quality. Similar figures are not available for sheep which are not purchased alive in the grades "Special," "A" or "B."All classes of cattle purchased at collecting centres can qualify for the appropriate live grade "A" but, clearly, a grade "A" cow would not be expected to produce the same quality carcass as a grade "A" steer or heifer. Similarly, a ewe graded in its highest category would tot be expected to provide the same quality carcass as a lamb similarly graded. The qualifying killing out percentage for the same grade varies with the class of animal, e.g., a cow qualifies for the live grade "A" at a lower killing out percentage than a heifer. Rates of payment per live hundredweight for a cow graded "A" are suitably less than for a heifer graded "A." Sheep fall into a great number of live grades, the current price schedule shows. During the six months ended 29th September. 47,339 tons of home-killed mutton and lamb were issued as first quality and 10,431 tons as second quality.