Inaccurate reports of slaughter cattle age profiles are responsible for the new dispute over Irish beef. The NBA claims only about 20% of the stock killed in the Republic last year were aged under 30 months, and this proportion would not have been big enough to supply the 110,000 tonnes of Irish beef imported to the UK. "Of course we have a lot of extensive production, so many of our cattle are aged over 30 months, but nothing like 80% ­ we're not that primitive," said one leading figure in the industry. Latest official estimates from Ireland put the 2000 kill of prime cattle aged under 30 months at 900,000 head, yielding about 300,000 tonnes of carcase beef. Total production for export was just under 500,000 tonnes. {{MEAT }}

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