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."
“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,” explained the Roscommon-Galway TD.
He said that 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 sub-categories, 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 Naughten.