A review of the beef grid could be in the works after senior director of Meat Industry Ireland Cormac Healy told last week’s Irish Farmers Journal Beef Summit that “maybe” it’s time for a review.

Healy told farmers that the meat industry needs to explore if changes are possible to the grid, which will be in place for 10 years this December.

“It was an important step in rewarding quality from the better grading animals, which come from the suckler herd.

“It brought greater differential into the pricing structure. However, when we look across the EU, differentials have moved on and maybe we need to do so too,” he told 1,300 farmers at the Beef Summit.

I am pleased to hear the contribution by Cormac in the context of the grid

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed welcomed Healy’s comment on looking at the grid.

“I am pleased to hear the contribution by Cormac in the context of the grid. It is an opportunity for the industry to sit down and see can the grid be reconstructed,” he said.

Department view

Earlier that week, in response to questions in the Dáil on the grid, Minister Creed said the beef grid was not the property of the Department of Agriculture. It is not for the Department to “tear up” and say it will change it, he said.

Meanwhile, Healy also told the Beef Summit that a report on carcase grading machines is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.

In response to a question from a farmer from the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) on whether grading machines would be reviewed, he said that a trial, aimed at future-proofing grading machines, had been undertaken with the Department of Agriculture.

The trial looked at using digital cameras and LED lights for carcase grading. Healy said that a report on the trial is due at the end of May.

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