ICSA questions the 380kg factory bull beef limit
The ICSA accused factories of double standards on the proposed 380kg weight spec limits to be imposed for bulls.
The farmer body claimed that Asda, a key customer for Irish beef in Britain, had indicated in the British press that it was happy to take bulls up to 450kg from British farmers.
The ICSA claimed the comments made by Pearce Hughes, Asda agriculture manager and reported in the Farmers Weekly, confirmed that the supermarket chain accepted bulls over the 380kg limit being proposed by the Irish factories.
Mr Hughes said farmers breeding pure-bred Stabiliser cattle would have a ready outlet for their stock up to 450kgs.
"We accept finished bulls up to 16 months old with a carcass weight of up to 450kg, so there is a market ready and waiting for all progeny (of Stabiliser cattle)," Mr Hughes told the Farmers Weekly. "Those farmers not wanting to finish the cattle themselves have the option to send them to the Asda/ABP BeefLink progeny testing/finishing unit at Adam Quinney's Worcestershire farm," he added.
ICSA beef committee chairman Edmond Phelan said Mr Hughes remarks showed that beef industry efforts to introduce a 380kg weight limit for bulls had nothing to do with the demands of retailers but was a device to impose further price cuts on farmers.
"The British retailer Asda has openly advised British farmers that it is a customer for young bulls up to 450kg. How can Irish beef processors then be believed when they say that 380kg is a market requirement," Mr Phelan asked.