Farm Ireland

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Letter: 'We cannot accept production of beef like broiler chickens'

Charolais bulls for finishing at 16 months on John Power’s farm in Clonea, Co Waterford
Charolais bulls for finishing at 16 months on John Power’s farm in Clonea, Co Waterford

Kevin McGuire, Chairman, Irish Charolais Society

As president of the Irish Charolais Society, I would like to compliment Christy Comerford on his comments in last week's Farming Independent and what he said about suckler farmers being forced out of business.

Is the government trying to destroy one of the best assets we have in the beef industry?

For generations, Ireland has relied upon the suckler farmers nationwide to produce top quality beef that demanded attention and indeed envy worldwide and without fail, they did not disappoint.

Today, various schemes and stipulations are intent on reducing the quality of beef we as a nation produce.

From our point of view, the Charolais breed was introduced both in Ireland and the UK to improve the quality of beef cattle produced when crossed with native breeds and using Charolais has done just that.

The introduction of Charolais aimed to produce a leaner carcass with a lower fat content while also availing of the breed's natural ability to surpass all others when it came to weight for age.

Ireland has long been envied for our ability to produce a high quality product coming off the back of suckling cows and being predominantly grass fed. There is NO substitute for naturally reared beef.

Only last week, we saw an article published stating that the quality of beef has dropped significantly of late. Why? Has it anything to do with the "new rules" suckler farmers are being governed by?

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The comparison of potentially telling dairy farmers they have to breed replacements from the beef bulls and milk them in the parlour may sound ridiculous but it's quite close to what is being expected from the suckler farmer in reverse!

We cannot accept production of beef like broiler chickens! If this is allowed, the consequences for our beef industry will be devastating.

There is a greater need for healthy and naturally produced beef today than ever before and we must retain our standing as a top quality producer.

I am calling on the IFA to get off the fence and put pressure on the government to safeguard this wonderful product we have before it's too late.

Failure to do this will force the suckler farmers of Ireland to form an independent body of representation.

The onus is on ALL beef breed societies to offer their support to any body which represents the best interests of the suckler farmers of Ireland.

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