Farm Ireland

Friday 19 April 2019

CCTV cameras needed to tackle grading machine issues: ICSA

Stock picture
Stock picture

Martin Coughlan and Louise Hogan

Permanent CCTV camera surveillance and weighing scales on kill lines should be installed in factories, it has been urged.

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said mechanical grading machines needed to be replaced by modern digital machines.

His comments follow TD Denis Naughten's call for their replacement in the Dail.

He stated the Department of Agriculture had confirmed that on 38 occasions since 2014 the grading machines were getting the grades wrong on more than four out of every 10 animals.

He pointed out the legal tolerance limit set for beef grading machines currently in use in meat plants was for 60pc accuracy, yet the machines could easily be more than 90pc accurate.

The Department confirmed that mechanical grading results for classification were at 91.8pc accuracy for conformation and 84.8pc for fat.

An industry-led trial is currently underway examining the use of digital cameras and LED lights in the machines.

"While I accept that the Department scrutinises mechanical grading, there is growing unease among farmers about perceived grading anomalies between factories," said Mr Graham.

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Killout figures

He stated that weighing scales installed so that cattle are weighed live as they go up the kill line would aid farmers.

"It would be helpful to farmers and to factories to improve understanding of killout percentages and assist with killing cattle when they are fit," he said.

The ICSA also advocated permanent CCTV camera surveillance of factory floors to support Department monitoring.

Mr Graham said there is considerable frustration over clipping charges for so-called dirty cattle and many farmers complain there is no consistency to clipping charges.

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