Irish bull beef 'set to increase'
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MORE than 90pc of the Slaney plant's annual throughput of 85,000 cattle are quality assured, with 70pc of the total under-30-month Us or Rs killing out with a 300-420kg carcase, according to Mr Fanning.
These animals qualify for a €10/hd bonus along with a 6c/kg top-up. Certified Hereford and Angus cattle qualify for another 10-15c/kg, depending on grade. However, the latter do not qualify for the €10/hd bonus.
While the Slaney chief admitted that Irish bull beef production was likely to increase, he was adamant that finding more outlets for this increase would not necessarily benefit Irish farmers.
"If we go into these mass-produced markets, our beef will become the same as broiler chicken -- indistinguishable from the same product from France and Germany. I think the only way to produce bull beef is by contract where the plant already has guaranteed outlets," he said.
Yearling R-grade bulls are already selling with €100-150/hd discounts to steers in marts, as farmers seek out easier options for grazing and cattle that can be easily managed with existing stock.