But still over 1 in 6 cattle grade less than 90% accurate
Questioning regarding the accuracy of beef grading machines by Denis Naughten has led to improvements in accuracy the local TD has claimed.
“There has been a dramatic improvement in the accuracy of beef grading machines, which has improved by over one third, since I first started questioning the accuracy of the mechanical grading machines,” claims Denis Naughten TD.
“Last year 27% of cattle graded by machines during Departmental inspections were less than 90% accurate but this has now improved to a point where 17% of cattle graded by machines are less than 90% accurate,” said the Roscommon Galway TD.
“These figures still expose the fact that even with these improvements over 1 in every 6 cattle graded mechanically at meat plants are being graded at an accuracy of less than 90%. This can have a significant impact on the payment received by farmers because if a grading machine is out by at least two subcategories this could see farmers getting €140/head less than they should for their cattle.
“What is hugely frustrating is the fact that these grading machines can easily be over 90% accurate but this requires vigorous enforcement by Department of Agriculture inspectors.
“The Minister for Agriculture also has a report on his desk on the introduction of new grading technology which could ensure a far greater level of accuracy and transparency when it comes to the mechanical grading of cattle and this must be published immediately,” concluded Denis Naughten.
For Written Answer on : 23/07/2019
Question Number(s): 2068 Question Reference(s): 32465/19
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: Denis Naughten T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 439 of 16 April 2019, if the corresponding figures for the year to date in 2019 will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1184 of 20 April 2017 governs the monitoring of carcase classification, carcase presentation and weighing. The legal tolerances for authorisation of a mechanical classification system are set in that legislation.
The figure quoted of 60% is the minimum accuracy figure for conformation and fat cover that must be achieved for a mechanical classification system to be authorised for use in any EU state. The average performance for conformation in Ireland in 2018 was 91.8% for conformation and 94.8% for fat cover.
In 2018, 23 machines were inspected during 412 inspections. During these inspections, on 112 occasions the accuracy was between 80% and 90% for both conformation and fat. In all other instances, the machines were above 90% accuracy.
In the year to date, (up to 30/6/19), 23 machines were inspected during 229 inspections. During these inspections, on 39 occasions the accuracy was between 80% and 90% for both conformation and fat. In all other instances, the machines were above 90% accuracy.