Beef grid 'broken' as suckler herd hit
Published 29/03/2016 | 02:30
Weight limits have removed any major benefits from the controversial beef grid, with the suckler herd the real losers, a farm body has warned.
Co-op body ICOS agreed to seek a meeting with the Agriculture Department and Minister on a number of issues surrounding the quality payment system (QPS) after a meeting between the farm bodies.
"Weight limits have taken away any benefits that should have arisen out of the grid and the suckler herd is the clear loser," said the ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan.
"The U grade is coming out of the suckler herd and in theory they should be benefiting. Therefore the whole payment structure is broken. They are being penalised at the top end and hammered at the low end."
It follows a discussion between ICOS, the ICSA, ICMSA, IFA and Macra on the grid.
ICOS claimed the 70-day pre-slaughter movement restrictions were "anti-trade", as it pointed out the Bord Bia beef and lamb quality assurance scheme allows for multiple movement between quality assured farms.
It pointed out many of the UK retailers, such as Tesco and M&S, do not have a 70-day rule and questioned the reasons Irish meat factories were describing it as a customer requirement.
"The quality payment system is now seven years old and it's time to review it," said ICOS marts committee chair Michael Spellman.