Calls for farmers to be given access to digital grading images carcasses from factory
ICMSA beef chairman Michael Guinan has demanded improved transparency around the factories' mechanical grading system as an immediate priority to assure farmers of the system's reliability, writes Martin Ryan.
"All farmers should be given access to the digital image of their animals' carcasses produced by the grading machine for information and transparency purposes, and to increase farmer confidence that their animal is being graded correctly and fairly," Guinan said.
Noting that Animal Health Ireland, Meat Industry Ireland and the Department of Agriculture were recording levels of liver fluke in animals and making the results available to farmers through ICBF's Beef Healthcheck Online, Guinan maintained it would be "a relatively simple exercise" to extend this to the carcass image.
The ICMSA representative pointed out that beef grading machines produced a digital image of each carcass that passed through the machine, which set the grade achieved and, consequently, the price paid to the farmer.
"Our reservations about the overcomplicated structure of the QPS are a matter of record but, if we have to work with it, then it seems sensible that at least we attempt to make it more transparent and understand- able for farmers," he said.
Guinan said the individual carcase image should be made available to the beef producer along with a comparable carcass for that grade to enable the farmer to make a comparison.