Almost 600 feedlot type beef farms in operation in Ireland - Bord Bia

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

There are over 580 feedlot type farms that are all slaughtering 300 cattle a year in operation in Ireland, Bord Bia has stated.

Director of Markets at Bord Bia Padraig Brennan said that while they are classified as feedlots, they are not feedlots by “international definition” as they operate a grass-based production system.

“The data we have from our Quality Assurance database would show that we have about 580 farms that slaughter more than 300 cattle per year in our system. Based on the information we get from an audit the vast majority of those farms are not feedlots by an international definition or anything close to it in that there’s a strong outdoor production focus,” he told a Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture.

“There’s a long grazing season in most cases and in many cases they have that feed lot status or a slaughter only policy because of the TB status on that herd.

“So it’s very difficult to know exactly the numbers that you would define as a feedlot but certainly our information would suggest a vast majority of the farms that might be classified as that are actually very representative in terms of the production system to farms that wouldn’t be classified that way as well.”

Mr Brennan added that he welcomed recent discussions about looking in to reviewing the QPS grid as the markets have changed and evolved over time.

“That grid is now more than 10 years old and certainly I would welcome the discussions recently about maybe is it time to review the grid and look at that and that has come up on a number of quarters.

“Maybe now is a good time and an opportune time given the change in dynamic that we see in the beef industry in terms of where our beef is coming from and it would be a good opportunity to do that.”

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He stated the fact that Irish beef prices are 104pc of the EU average for young bull process was due to lower production costs in other countries and viability issues across the entire Single Market but insisted that Ireland was making progress in coming in line with the EU average.

“Viability is a major challenge right across the European union for the beef industry. It’s not unique to Ireland by any manner of means. Six of the last eight years we have been at or above the EU average.

“If you go back to the year 2009 we were only at or above the EU average for one year. We are making some progress in that regard. I wouldn’t say for a moment that there’s not a lot more to be done, there absolutely is but at least there are signs that we’re moving in the right direction on that one

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