Is Department afraid what accurate grading would show up?
The disclosure today that the Department of Agriculture has included a new carcass grading equation that would reduce conformation scores on cattle as part of the trial of new beef grading machines has been condemned by Denis Naughten TD as an “underhand action by the sector without any consultation with farmers”.
Deputy Naughten has led the campaign to replace the existing outdated beef grading machines due to the frequency with which the Department Inspectors find machines not grading accurately and the very low accuracy standard of just 60% required for the current machines.
The Roscommon TD estimates that faulty grading machines can have a significant impact on the payment received by farmers because if a grading machine was out by at least two subcategories this could see farmers getting €140/head less than they should for their cattle.
“Of course if new more accurate grading machines were introduced in isolation, without a new formula for conformation scores, and this was to see farmers getting paid more on average for their animals this would raise very serious questions about the monitoring of the industry by the Department of Agriculture,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Therefore it is imperative, in the interests of transparency that the new grading machines, are introduced in isolation to any proposed changes to the evaluation of carcass evaluation.
“If the Department of Agriculture and the meat industry can stand over the current outdated grading technology, then they should have nothing to fear from the introduction of new grading machines without new carcass conformation standards,” concluded Denis Naughten.