When poultry processors allow even the smallest piece of meat go to waste, they are also allowing money to go to waste. By hiring special yield technicians, companies can help maximize yield from each bird and improve the bottom line, Kevin Ingram, quality assurance manager for Koch Foods, said during the recent Poultry Processor Workshop.

Ingram estimated that a 1 percent yield loss can cost a processing plant $5,200 per day, which adds up to $1,326,000 annually. When a manager looks at those statistics, the question of whether the company can afford to hire a yield technician gets answered with a definitive "yes."

"There are so many little areas, with so many pieces of equipment that we touch in a poultry plant where we can find yield that it justifies the extra technicians. If they can help us find that 1 percent, they've paid for their salary," Ingram said.

Lost yield can be found at all stages of the plant, Ingram said. Receiving, live hang, kill room, picking room, evisceration, chilling, second processing and further processing are all stages where yield loss can occur.

All employees need to be aware of yield, Ingram said. He suggested that all plant workers be trained in yield awareness, that daily and weekly yield data be posted, and employees be given frequent feedback on performance.