LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY leaders have travelled to Brittany to witness the latest Video Imaging Analysis carcass classification equipment in action.

Executives from EBLEX, the National Farmers‘ Union, the National Beef Association and the National Sheep Association made up the visiting party.

The VIA technology is being widely adopted in France and EBLEX hopes that it can be successfully introduced in England, bringing much needed reliability to grading.

“This visit demonstrated to us that automated classification could provide consistent and reliable assessment of our English stock,” said David Raine, deputy chairman of EBLEX.

“We‘re looking forward to seeing conclusions from independent evaluation work being undertaken on this type of equipment in the UK.”

But Robert Forster, chief executive of the National Beef Association said that automated classification was not enough.

“It has to be a much more flexible scanning system, probably based on ultrasound, to determine the quantity and proportion of muscle,” he said.

“We need a system where the signals put back by the market can be very quickly put back to producers.”