'It's time to review the factory grading system': Charolais chief

Irish Charolais Cattle Society president Kevin Maguire
Irish Charolais Cattle Society president Kevin Maguire

Martin Ryan

More support for the suckler herd is a critical requirement for the survival of the sector Irish Charolais Cattle Society president Kevin Maguire has stressed.

He made his comments as the latest classification results reveal a deterioration in the percentage of higher grade animals in the national kill,

He stressed the need for a timely conversation on reviewing of the grading system for cattle at the factories.

He emphasised that "here is always room for development and improvement" to ensure that producers are rewarded for quality animals.

He said that the "grading system currently in place, I do think needs to be addressed", which has been highlighted in discussions over the past months and needs to be moved on to the next stage.

"There is no room for sitting on our laurels and waiting for success to come. We must always look for the areas we can improve" he said.

He added his concern "that recent figures show a massive influx in O & P grade cattle being slaughtered while the numbers of quality U & R grades have fallen dramatically" and pointed out that this trend pose a threat to achieving higher quality standards in beef production.

Acknowledging that the rapid expansion in the dairy herd in recent years will inevitably lead to an increase in progeny from the sector in beef production, he emphasised that "naturally reared beef that is predominantly grass fed and suckled from their mothers" will always remain a very healthy quality beef.

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"I don't have any issues with the dairy sector, and what they produce and I want to make that quite clear, but my loyalty lies with Charolais and the suckler farmers that rely on Charolais stock bulls to make a living for themselves and their families," he added.

Recent statistics showed a dramatic increase in O and P grade animals in the national kill.

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