The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) is to host a meeting of the beef industry stakeholder forum next week to discuss changes to the breeding indices for beef animals.
The event, taking place at the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise at 10:00a.m on Thursday, February 1, will be chaired by Paul Dillon, a former official at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
Representatives from ICBF and Teagasc will address the meeting which will include farm organisations, breed societies and Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).
The chief executive of ICBF, Sean Coughlan told Agriland that the main focus of the meeting will be to address the concerns raised about changes to the beef breed indices.
The ICBF previously stated that the updates to the terminal and replacement beef indexes took place following “a rigorous technical review process”.
“The main driver of the changes are the updates to the farm gate prices, and updates to the costs of production, based on Teagasc research,” the organisation said.
The implementation of the changes have led to major concerns and anger among beef farmers and breed societies.
Last month, the ICBF chief executive told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine that communication with farmers around the changes had been “sub-optimal”.
However, Sean Coughlan ruled out pausing the changes, pending the outcome of an independent review and further consultation with farmers and breed societies.
He said that “the reality is that either the indexes are published, or they’re not published” and people want to know how the changes will impact them.
Beef index changes
The organisation also said that it would work with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in relation to the farmers participating in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) who will be most impacted by the index changes.
In December, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said he is “making sure” that farmers in SCEP do not “lose out financially” due to the changes.
Meanwhile, the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA) has successfully hit its €5,000 funding target to cover the costs of legal advice in its effort to seek an injunction against ICBF.
The farm group is aiming to get a court injunction against the ICBF in order to prevent the latter from publishing animal evaluation results based on the new terminal and replacement beef breeding indices.