Farmers warn that top class cattle will become very scarce
The processing industry has the ability to market increased quantities of beef into emerging world markets, producers were told at the Irish Limousin Cattle Society Carcass Competition 2018 awards.
Speaking at the presentations at Ashbourne Meats, Roscrea, AMP Group Manager, Jerry Meehan told the gathering of beef finishers that about 65pc of the prime animals slaughtered at the plant are being paid the in-spec quality assurance bonus "because we source good cattle and would not be particularly known for taking in Friesians".
However, concerns were expressed on the likely deterioration in grading and the requirement of the sector to return a living income to producers
Some farmers argued that the qualifying criteria for the payment is too restrictive.
There was a strong warning from the floor that "good cattle are going to get very scarce" because of the swing from suckler to high genetic merit dairy farming and the difference in carcase value could be as much as €500/hd.
One speaker said that "there is going to be a flood of dairy type cattle" for the beef industry and called for the industry "get the Jerseys out of the country" because of the threat to the beef industry from the perceived poor quality of dairy progeny.
Limousin Society secretary Paul Sykes said that there is concern over the depletion of the suckler herd and more support is need for the sector if it is to be maintained.
"The producers have to be able to make a satisfactory standard of living," he said.