Processing Costs

Newsletter 48 - Item 3

Newsletter No. 48 discussed processing costs in relation to the country report in Item 1.   Processing is made up of a number of processes and it is important to know which processes are included and at what stage of the process the meat is packaged when costs are quoted to avoid confusion:

-  Slaughter
-  Deboning
-  Muscling Out
-  Deskinning/Demembraning
-  Portioning and other value adding

The following are other factors that influence the costs of processing and need factoring in when costing production.

Other factors that influence processing costs:

Volume:

  • World production of ostrich remains at a fraction of single production units in other specie which places significant challenges to achieve efficiencies of scale
  • Many are slaughtering very low volumes in multi-specie plants. Management of these slaughter plants will expect to slaughter those birds with sufficient return to make it worth their while.

Staff slaughtering ostrich irregularly:

  • operate more slowly than staff slaughtering ostrich daily
  • make more errors when deskinning (damage to skin and/or muscles)
  • Insufficient volume to optimise a full day's slaughter
  • Equipment is not suitable for ostrich

Regular throughput:

  • South Africa has some of the lowest ostrich slaughter costs, yet a major complaint of abattoir managers is producers cancelling booked delivery of birds at the last minute leaving a plant with reduced numbers at best or no slaughter for the day at worst
  • This has serious knock on effect to the supply chain to customers

Ostrich is seasonal

Egg laying is seasonal.  Past records demonstrate that production systems impact on the length of the laying season. Growing volume will enable further research to quantify the impact of not only production systems but also daylight length at the different latitudes on extending the seasonaly influence on the egg laying time.

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