Four beef processing companies will be exhibiting within the Meat Market Information Village at Grange on Wednesday: ABP; Dawn Meats; Kepak; and and Slaney Foods, according to Bord Bia.

Representatives from each will be on hand to explain the profile of animals they need in order to satisfy the specific customers that they supply.

According to Bord Bia’s Joe Burke the Grange Open Day will be an ideal opportunity for farmers to hear first-hand what the meat factories are looking for in cattle.

He said producers intending to finish animals for slaughter are strongly encouraged to visit this marquee. He said in the past year, demand from meat plants has focused strongly on cattle which will meet the specifications required by their most valuable customers. “As a result, it is more important than ever that farmers properly understand what the market is now looking for.”

On the day, visitors will learn how the age, weight, conformation and fat class of a carcass, along with its gender (young bull, steer or heifer), impact on where the beef can be sold. This will be clearly shown using cuts of beef from various different carcasses.

The UK is our most important beef market, accounting for 250,000 tonnes, or 53% of Irish beef exports in 2013. Most of our customers there have a preference for prime steer or heifer beef, although young bull beef is also acceptable up to 16 months of age.

Bord Bia, in consultation with the industry, continually seeks out the highest returning markets for Irish beef.  The main issue with young bulls aged over 16 months is that these are deemed ‘out of spec”’ as far as the British market is concerned. There are, and will continue to be, other markets across Continental EU where young bull beef is acceptable.

In addition to the processing companies, the Angus and Hereford beef producer groups will also be present on the day.