Only a small market remains for heavy carcasses – Dawn Meats

The markets that Ireland sells its beef on have changed and as a result the demand for heavy carcasses has reduced, according to Dawn Meats’ Paul Nolan.

Speaking at the Teagasc and Dawn Meats Newford herd open day in Athenry, the Dawn Meats Group Development Manager said that 90% of beef produced in Ireland is sold onto the European market.

“Practically all Irish beef is now exported to Europe,” he said.

Nolan said that European customers have certain requirements for the beef they purchase. These include good quality, taste and value.

He said that European customers also demand steaks at a certain price, which results in a requirement for lighter beef carcasses.

The market tends to look for a lighter carcass and an alternative suckler system is required to produce these animals.

And as a result, he said, the market requires about 80% of the beef produced in Ireland to come from steer and heifer carcasses weighing 300-380kg.

The focus on Europe means that the requirement for heavy and over age carcasses is reducing in Ireland, he said.

He said the 20% proportion of the market focusing on heavy carcasses is shrinking every year and as a result the weight and age limits that were introduced earlier this year were necessary to meet the demand of European consumers.

However, Nolan said that the move towards lighter carcasses will not happen overnight and it will take farmers a while to get to grips with new breeding systems to bred these lighter animals.