Farmers flood into Bord Bia's QA scheme
There has been a sharp rise in the number of farmers applying for the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme (BLQAS) through 2013.
Bord Bia reports over 7,000 new applications to the beef and lamb scheme to the end of August this year.
This is significantly higher than the figures recorded for the same period in 2012, when just 2,900 farmers applied to join.
In total there are now 37,474 in the BLQAS or 3,345 more than was in the scheme prior to the horsemeat scandal erupting at the start of this year.
Bord Bia officials say the rush to join the scheme has been driven by the improved bonus available from the factories for QA cattle and the difficulty in getting non-QA cattle killed.
The country's flagship beef customers, including British and Continental supermarket chains and fast food giants such as McDonald's and Burger King, are all demanding QA beef, and factory buyers maintain that outlets for non-QA stock are becoming increasingly restricted.
Bord Bia estimates that farmers who are quality assured now account for more than 85pc of the cattle throughput at export meat plants. This is up from 78pc in 2012.