Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Bord Bia turns focus on to beef

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Bord Bia has developed a huge hands-on display for the Ploughing Championships this year in a bid to help farmers maximise returns from the ever more complex demands of the grading systems and export markets.

Joe Burke, Bord Bia's beef industry expert, has organised eight pens of specially selected cattle. The first four groups will demonstrate the ideal fat classes for the typical types of cattle from which beef farmers are trying to earn a living, including continental steers and heifers along with Holstein-Friesian and dairy-beef cross steers.

Within each pen, there will be three similar animals in terms of sex, age, weight, breed/type and conformation. The key difference will be their fat class or 'finish'. Each pen will have an ideal (as close as possible to 3=), under finished (2-) and an over fat (4+) animal.

The second important section of the display will focus on the rapidly developing young bull beef sector. It will be highlighting the importance of getting bulls finished at a young enough age, along with the ideal fat classes to be aiming for with this type of animal. There will be two U-grade continental bulls on display to show what farmers should be aiming for.

There will also be displays of cattle suitable for the thriving Italian live export market.

In addition, there will be refrigerated cabinets containing vacuum packed beef cuts from cattle of different fat classes and conformation/carcass weight. This will give farmers an opportunity to see exactly why meat plants and shippers are prepared to pay more for quality carcasses.

There will also be a demonstration of lamb racks, and accompanying retail packs of chops, from animals in the preferred weight range (18-20kg) that are either ideal (3) in terms of fat cover, underfinished (2L) and overfat (4H). In addition, there will be an example of a rack from an overweight carcass (>22kg), as well as a nice rack from a hill lamb (12kg) carcass.

Mr Burke, along with Teagasc and meat plant representatives, will be on the stand throughout the event to talk farmers through the fine detail.

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