Dáil Éireann - Volume 487 - 11 February, 1998
Written Answers. - Beef Quality.
Mr. Ring Mr. Ring
86. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans, if any, he has to encourage farmers to increase the quality of their cattle in view of the fact that top quality cattle are reaching a low price and there is no incentive to keep producing quality grade cattle. [3569/98]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh) Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh)
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I am concerned about the deterioration in the quality of beef carcases which is evidenced by the increase in the number of carcases falling into the higher fat classes. There are a number of reasons for this development, most notably the increased usage of holstein breeds in the dairy  herds and the practice of flat pricing adopted by meat factories.
As far as breeding practices are concerned, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation which was formed last June will, when fully operational, be responsible for expanding the recording, testing and genetic evaluation systems with a view to improving the genetic merit of the beef herd and thereby improve the overall quality of our beef production. Funds will be provided both through the Structural Funds and industry contribution to facilitate this development.
In the final analysis, however, the introduction of suitable quality related price differentials would be the most effective mechanism for effecting an improvement in the quality of our cattle. My Department is currently involved in discussions with the beef industry on this matter. I hope there will be positive developments in this regard in the near future.
Dáil Éireann 487 Written Answers. Beef Quality.