Breeding societies back calls to scrap beef grading system
Ireland's leading cattle breeding societies have backed calls for a debate on the phasing out of the current grading system in factories and the introduction of payment based on meat yield.
Irish Charolais Cattle Society president Kevin McGuire told the Farming Independent that the current factory grading system needs to be updated so that suckler farmers are rewarded for quality. He cited the Australian system of paying by meat yield as one that Ireland should adopt.
"The system needs to be upgraded. The system in Australia is very accurate and I'd be in favour of moving toward something like that as it shows the exact meat yield," he said.
"Suckler farmers are not getting properly paid and they need to be supported and paid for quality. There's a lot of talk of the quality, heavy beef in Ireland that's fed naturally and reared with its mother.
"The dairy breed is artificial as far as I'm concerned. Something needs to be done so this breed survives."
Mr McGuire thinks that beef in Ireland is going the wrong way and that factories are taking lower-graded "O and P animals".
Irish Limousin Society secretary Paul Sykes echoed Mr McGuire's views.
"It makes sense that farmers are paid based on quality. We would be in favour of paying by yield. It's certainly fairer and ensures that a premium price is paid for a premium product.