Axe controversial price grid now urges ICMSA
The immediate withdrawal of the quality payment system (QPS) for cattle has been sought by the ICMSA national council.
The association claimed the grid's introduction had resulted in returns to producers being slashed and would cost farmers several million euro every year.
The national council, which met in Limerick on Friday, called for a more simplified grid, reduced price differentials, quality assured bonus for all animals from QA farms and the abolition of the 30-month threshold on beef animals.
A comparison of actual average prices paid for O grade cattle pre and post-QPS, based on prices published by the IFA, has shown that producers of O grade animals could lose up to €4m on a full year's production arising from the widening in the price differential from base.
The council unanimously adopted a resolution which sought the immediate withdrawal of the present price grid.
The ICMSA called for the introduction of a simplified grid with not more than 25 categories (5 x 5), the reduction of the price differential and no more than five price bands.
The council also called for QA scheme payments to apply to all cattle from QA farms, Department of Agriculture monitoring of beef carcass grading on an ongoing basis and that the 30-month threshold be abolished.
The meeting also endorsed the demand for an independent audit of the operation of the price grid in terms of the total payout to farmers.