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·         Ireland: Trials on hi-tech beef grading machines at advanced stage

A trial using digital cameras and LED lights as part of the mechanical grading system in meat factories is at an "advanced stage", it has been confirmed…

 

·         Ireland: Calves sold in marts for less than 50 cent as beef crisis reaches extreme level

Senator says 380 dairy bull calves sold for less than a euro compared to €110 last year

 

 

Trials on hi-tech beef grading machines at advanced stage

 

Louise Hogan, Independent (Ireland)

March 13 2019

 

A trial using digital cameras and LED lights as part of the mechanical grading system in meat factories is at an "advanced stage", it has been confirmed.

 

It follows criticism of the machines as "outdated and obsolete", as TD Denis Naughten highlighted it is 14 years since their introduction - which predates the arrival of the iPhone.

 

The ICMSA said very "serious questions" remain unanswered on the beef grading machines and the Department's record of inspecting them.

 

Mr Naughten warned beef farmers could be losing €140 per animal due to grading machines operating outside of the recommended thresholds.

 

However, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) said the automated carcase grading system that is in operation in Ireland is "by no means obsolete".

 

MII's Cormac Healy said it was the most comprehensive approach to ensuring objective and consistent classification according to the European Commission's EUROP grading system in any member state.

 

Advanced stage

 

The industry-led trial is being supervised by the Department of Agriculture, which said it was at an "advanced stage".

 

"Subject to confirmation of effectiveness, the Department would expect the industry to move to implement this technology in due course," it stated.

 

MII confirmed that a carcase classification expert from the Netherlands, who was formerly working with the European Commission, was also assisting in the trial.

 

Mr Healy said it aimed to "future-proof the system with the latest camera and lighting technology" and once validated, the aim was to roll it out across all sites that have automated grading.

 

The Department stated it was satisfied the existing system is compliant with all the relevant EU regulations.

 

Mr Healy said the Department provided the independent checking of the performance of grading technology with announced and unannounced inspections.

 

Over the past two years, inspectors found 21 cases of mechanical beef grading machines not correctly grading; they were replaced by manual grading while the problems were rectified.

 

However, Mr Naughten said if a machine was out by at least two subcategories then it could see farmers getting a €140/hd less for their cattle.

 

He claimed that in the UK grading machines have to...

 

more

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/trials-on-hitech-beef-grading-machines-at-advanced-stage-37901644.html

 

 

Calves sold in marts for less than 50 cent as beef crisis reaches extreme level

Senator says 380 dairy bull calves sold for less than a euro compared to €110 last year

 

Marie O'Halloran, The Irish Times

Mar 12, 2019

 

The beef crisis has reached such an extreme that dairy calves have been selling for less than 50 cent each, the Seanad has been told.

 

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard said “we are in a crisis” with deflated prices particularly in marts.

 

The Cork South-West based Senator said he was at Bandon mart on Monday, Ireland’s biggest calf mart, where “nearly 1,800 calves went through, some of which were sold for less than 50 cent, when they were making €110 last year. There is a particular issue with bull Friesian calves.”

 

He said “last year dairy calves were costing anything between €60 and €110. Yesterday 380 dairy bull calves were sold for less than 50 cent (each). This is the stuff of 1960. It is bizarre that we have such an issue nowadays.”

 

Calves last hit those low prices in the 1960s and early 1970s before Ireland joined the then European Economic Community.

 

The Senator, who is a dairy farmer said that practices had changed to such an extent that mixed farming in Ireland is coming to an end.

 

Speaking after raising the issue in the Seanad he said that dairy farmers will let bull calves go, at 14 days old, for that low price because it is not sustainable to keep them if they are running a dairy farm.

 

He said the chaos in the market was not Brexit related because these calves were being exported to Continental Europe where there is significant demand for veal and calves...

 

more, including links

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/calves-sold-in-marts-for-less-than-50-cent-as-beef-crisis-reaches-extreme-level-1.3823493