Talks between Dublin and Belfast have concluded in a joint application to the EU for an 'all island' PGI beef scheme.

Approval of the scheme is likely to be confirmed by the end of the year or the beginning of 2023. One of the key stumbling blocks in the initial talks was the need for cattle to be outside on grass for at least 220 days per year, with the ability to cut this to 180 days only in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

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It is understood whilst the wording has not been dropped from the final application, the word 'exceptional' has been swapped for 'mitigating' circumstances. Cattle in Northern Ireland often had to spend extended periods of time housed, particularly in autumn when rains can force animals off the grass.

The application was welcomed by Ulster Farmers Union president David Brown, who said: “We welcome the PGI’s recognition and protection of credentials and quality of our grass-fed beef which is widely known in the marketplace.”