Targeting Hidden Meat Yield

By James Young, Cobb World Technical Support Team - Over the last decade, primary breeders have invested many millions of dollars in developing higher yielding broilers. Whether eviscerated yield or boneless breast yield drives a company's profits, there is now a number of different broiler breeds from which an integrator may choose.
calendar icon 25 September 2006
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This rapid expansion in higher yielding broilers demonstrates the importance of yield and its impact on both product quality and cost. Yield is perhaps the single most critical key performance indicator an integrator can measure.

If this is true, then certainly a company should put as much effort towards scrutinizing its own day-to-day management of yield as it puts into assessing a breed's yield potential. Often a company will make a breed decision based on yield differences as little as 0.2%, yet fail to manage critical control points which can account for even greater yield improvements than a breed change alone. A company must therefore, not only make good breed decisions to have an opportunity to achieve maximum yield, but also have a yield management system in place to ensure that it can actually achieve maximum yield.

A comprehensive list of yield critical control points would certainly span several pages, but there are a few key categories encompassing many of these points that must be managed to maximize yield.

1. Live Bird Quality and Health

A flock that requires a large percentage of birds to be handled through an off-line salvage procedure, will have a severe impact on a plant's eviscerated yield potential. Even when farm condemned parts are taken out of a plant's yield calculation, poor live bird quality and health adversely affect yield. Excessive line stops, poor product flow and excessive trimming all contribute to a less than optimal yield.

2. Time and Temperature

Regardless of the stage of the process, time and temperature are important in yield management. To find potential yield opportunities, areas such as live bird holding, scalding, chilling and refrigerated storage should all be measured to evaluate the amount of time the birds are in process and the temperatures at which they are kept.

3. Machine Adjustments

At every stage of the process, improper machine adjustments can have a severe impact on yield. Many times these losses end up in the back of an offal truck and are never accurately tracked.Machine adjustments in the live receiving, picking and evisceration areas are critical to minimizing birds with missing parts by reducing wing damage, broken hocks and torn birds.

Poor machine adjustments in these areas may also contribute to how frequently birds fall into drains and drip pans. These birds cannot normally be salvaged. A more obvious opportunity for machine adjustment is in automated debone operations where excessive breast meat stays with the frame, or the quality of the fillet or tender is compromised due to poor adjustments. It is important to remember that the best quality product will almost always be the best yielding product. Eviscerated birds with minimal damage due to trim and missing parts will have excellent quality scores as well as yield scores.

4. Scale Accuracy

Remember, scales are the 'cash register' of the plant. Scale calibration, scale tares, short weights, and over-pack are critical to yield management. These are components of a properly managed scale program, which begins with the live receiving scales and continues through the process to radial scales and finished products scales. Considering these factors and the different yield critical control points is an important first step in developing a yield management program that will ultimately increase 'bottom line' profitability.

August 2006
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