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Meat plants work on communications

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The Kepak factory in Athleague. Photo: Ray Ryan

The Kepak factory in Athleague. Photo: Ray Ryan

The Kepak factory in Athleague. Photo: Ray Ryan

MEAT processors are in the process of developing an "improved communication system" with Teagasc in an attempt to avoid bull beef crisis-type situations that currently plague the sector.

"We're taking on board the fact that there's a problem out there at the moment," admitted Kepak's managing director John Horgan.

"We've got a good rapport with our suppliers, but I can see the merit in the industry being more proactive in getting a clearer message out to farmers," he said to the Farming Independent at the Agrifood conference in Dublin last week.

The number of young bulls being slaughtered at the country's meat plants has increased fivefold since 2000 to the point where they now account for 25pc of the male kill, according to Mr Horgan.

However, contrary to the perception that the low price for bulls is a result of over supply, the Kepak boss believes that there is scope for more bulls to be marketed by the sector.

"Kepak probably have enough, since we account for about 20pc of the national bull kill, but I'd say there's scope for some of the other processors to finish more, provided that they're finished to market requirements."

Mr Horgan blamed the horsemeat crisis for the lack of appetitive from the processors for older bulls this year.

"There's a much greater adherence to specs expected of us now," he added.

Irish Independent