Beef grid is 'anti-trade' claim marts
Farm bodies call for full review of the grid and restrictions
Published 22/03/2016 | 02:30
Pressure is mounting for a full review of the controversial beef grid which has been branded "anti-trade" by marts body ICOS.
Amid long-running criticism of the quality payment system (QPS), the marts branch of ICOS has called a meeting of farm bodies tomorrow to discuss issues around the grid which they feel weren't fully addressed fully at the recent Beef Forum talks.
The ICOS move comes as analysis shows Irish farmers could lose €10.6m a year - or an average of €79 per head - if the limits on heavier carcase weights of around 420kg were imposed across the board, hitting over 133,000 cattle.
The co-op organisation has called for the 70-day pre-slaughter movement restrictions that were brought in with the grid to be removed.
"Farmers have issues with weight limits and age," said ICOS marts executive Ray Doyle. "The grid is seven or eight years old at this stage. We want to discuss is it fit for purpose - the meeting has an open agenda."
Mr Doyle pointed out farmers will lose out on a 12c bonus - or around €50 a head - if the animals are moved in the last 70 days or to more than four farmers. "What else can you call that but anti-trade," he argued.
Both the ICSA and the ICMSA, who have confirmed they will be attending the meeting, have called for a review of the beef grid, along with the age, weight and quality assurance restrictions.