Legal concerns have been raised by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed over proposals that meat processors be banned from owing feedlots.
A number of farm organisations have claimed that factory ownership of feedlots undermine the beef trade.
ICOS recently claimed that feedlots with a throughput of tens of thousands of animals, enable processors to increase supply at times of peak demand and to dampen market prices.
And the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee also recently recommended a review to establish its potential adverse impact on the beef sector.
However, Minister Creed said while he has not taken formal legal advice on it, he suspects it may not be legally possible to prevent factories owning feedlots.
He said the newly established Beef Taskforce is in a position to consider the issue of feedlot ownership.
However, he said feedlots controlled by beef processors do not control the overwhelming majority of cattle that are slaughtered.
"To some extent, it depends on what one defines as significant.
"The definition of 'feedlot' also deserves consideration. Some feedlots are owned by farmers who trade independently," he said.
According to Department of Agriculture data, the number of cattle - originating from 'Controlled Finishing Units' - slaughtered at approved beef exporting plants to August 31 was 212,500 head. This was 18pc of the national beef kill in that period.
Meat Industry Ireland has said that factory-owned or controlled feedlots account for 5pc of the total national kill.