Dairy growth poses threat to future of suckler sector
Factories' grading system is 'out-dated' warns former IFA deputy president
The national suckler herd is in danger of being consumed by the dairy industry, former IFA deputy president Derek Deane has claimed.
"Dairy has grown dramatically in terms of numbers. That is putting a lot of extra poorer grade animals on the market," Mr Deane told the Irish Grasslands Association beef conference.
Mr Deane said all of the emphasis on improving breeding in animals is pointless if it is not reflected in the end price for animals.
"I think the job for the industry and the processors is to try and reflect to the producer what the market wants and give a premium for that. We have to look at that on an ongoing basis. I think the grading system that we have is outdated," said Mr Deane who was speaking from the audience.
"If we're looking at efficiency and we're looking at environmental changes and all of the rest, the opposition will be getting more efficient and we can't see ourselves being left behind.
Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats said Mr Deane's points were valid but stressed that consumers and retailers want smaller lower value cuts.
"Meat yield is very, very important of course. But if we end up talking about the meat yield of a striploin that's weighing 12 to 14 to 15 kilos I can guarantee you the value of that cut here, vis a vis one that's only weighing six or seven kilos in a supermarket in Europe, is going to affect all of our pockets," he said.
When pressed on the meat processing sector still grading cattle on technology introduced more than 15 years ago, Mr Nolan said he would support a review.