According to factory booking agent for Emerald Isle Beef Producers (EIBP) Producer Organisation (PO), Eamon Corley, there has been a number of issues recently with farmers sending “unsuitable cattle” to the factory.
Speaking to Agriland, Corley said: “There have been a couple of problems recently with farmers sending unsuitable cattle to the factory.
“Some cattle are too thin and are grading one in fatscore. Other cattle are too light and the factories are saying that they are unsuitable for contracts.
“Cattle falling below the minimum weight is a bigger problem than cattle crossing the maximum weight,” he added.
Figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) show the number of ‘short fleshed’ cattle arriving at lairages for processing continues to be a major issue, with just under 16% of the steer carcasses processed in the week ending Sunday, November 13, failing to make a fat score of 2+ or above, therefore being classified as ‘short fleshed’.
Corley said that the factories that the PO is dealing with “are saying they don’t want cattle grading 1 in fat score” and added that processors are also saying they don’t want cattle below the minimum carcass weights.
He explained that quite often, cattle that fall into these categories are “at the mercy of the factory as to what price they will pay”.
He added that EIBP “accepts no responsibility for farmers sending cattle that are too thin or under the required minimum weight” and said “the responsibility for this rests with the farmer”.
Corley suggested that farmers who are unsure of the carcass weight and fat score of their animals should seek advice from someone with experience in fat-scoring cattle and gauging kill-out percentages of beef animals.
In a message to EIBP members, Corley said: “In general, Friesan and continental cattle should have a carcass weight above 280kg.
“Angus and Hereford cattle should have a carcass weight above 250kg.”
EIBP is a PO of beef finishers who collectively supply approximately 5,500 finished cattle/year to beef processors across Ireland.
The group collectively negotiates a price with factories across the country and supplies its cattle to the highest-paying outlet.