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Farm group proposes installing load cells on factory kill lines

The Irish Beef & Lamb Association (IBLA) believes that the meat processing industry and its MII representatives “did not answer satisfactorily”, all questions posed by farm organisations at the most recent Beef Market Taskforce sitting.

The group issued a statement following yesterday’s (Thursday, June 3rd) meeting earlier today (Friday, June 4th).

In the statement, it said the lack of a full and detailed explanation on the circumstances for the sudden price drop in base price quotes in February 2021 was “particularly noticeable”.

It was highlighted and demonstrated on graphs presented by Bord Bia during market updates that Ireland was the only country in Europe where this sudden price drop was experienced.

“No credible answer was provided on how the unilateral price drop in February 2021 occurred and across all processing plants.”

“IBLA raised and highlighted the first-time involvement of meat processing reps at the Taskforce and indicated the continual lack of trust within the meat industry.”

Load cell on kill line

According to the statement, the lack of implementation of the ‘Beef Sector Agreement’ at factory sites was highlighted.

IBLA proposed to the eight meat processing companies in attendance that a load cell be installed on a kill line.

“A load cell to capture data was identified as an efficient and accurate method of quantifying the exact weight and kill-out percentage of all carcasses.”

The group stated that some meat processors did comment on the proposal and agreed to examine the option. IBLA proposed that the ‘under 30 months age limit’ be abolished.

IBLA confirmed that in the absence of concrete data to support its retention that it must be removed. The group called for its unilateral removal among all stakeholders.

120,000 fewer factory-fit cattle

“Bord Bia indicated a reduced supply of factory fit cattle for the remainder of 2021, with up to 120,000 cattle being quantified as a shortfall in 2021. All livestock primary producers must take note of the change in supply profile.”

IBLA feels the timeline afforded for the processors to reply to questions at the Taskforce sitting was “inadequate”.

It believes a full day’s sitting must be afforded to discussions with the processors at their next Taskforce sitting.

“So vast is the mistrust, lack of information and willingness by the processing industry to recognise primary producers as an equal and vital cog in the supply chain.”

“Our meat industry is not sustainable with generational renewal also raised yesterday. It is not achievable without change in approach by the meat processing industry towards primary producers.”

IBLA has requested that the taskforce invite the meat processors back to the taskforce for a further sitting.

Furthermore, it reiterated its call for Taskforce meetings to be live-streamed.

“Farmers need to view the exchanges that occur during these meetings. Transparency and accountability for all is required,” the spokesperson concluded.

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