Permanent monitoring of carcass trim is ‘now confirmed’

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has confirmed to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) that he has moved to provide permanent monitoring of carcass trim in meat factories by the department’s technical officers.

The IFA’s livestock chairman Angus Woods said this is a positive move, which the IFA welcomes, but it must also extend to cover monitoring and closer controls on carcass classification and weights and the provision of an independent appeals system.

Woods said that Minister Creed confirmed in a letter that Veterinary Public Health Inspection staff, in conjunction with the Beef Carcass Classification section, are currently putting in place a training and reporting system to facilitate the monitoring of carcass presentation by technical officers permanently based in the meat factories.

Beef supplies not meeting demand

In other beef-related news, Woods claims that factories are struggling to buy cattle at the lower quoted prices this week and are having to pay at least a base price of 415c/kg for steers and 425c/kg for heifers to get adequate numbers.

He said some top prices of 420c/kg and 430c/kg were paid earlier in the week.

He remarked that supplies are not meeting demand and factories are hungry for cattle, with farmers in no rush to move stock that are thriving well on grass.

The chairman said: “The factories are using the slight increase in the cow kill to try to put pressure on prices. Farmers need to be aware that there is a difference of 10-15c/kg in cow prices, depending on the factory and the numbers on offer.”

R-grade cows are making 360-370c/kg while P and O-grade cows are making from 335c/kg to 355c/kg with flat deals for mixed loads.

Woods said that, both in Ireland and the UK, supplies are not meeting demand and the World Cup has given a strong boost to beef consumption in the UK and across the EU.

In our main export market, cattle prices continue to rise with R3-grade steers making 377p/kg (equivalent to 452c/kg including VAT).