Factories in frame over grid bonuses
ICSA highlights discrepancy in QPS returns from processors
The ICSA has accused the factories of not returning the full benefit of the new grading system to farmers for top quality stock.
The farmer body claimed that the factories appear to be deducting the full 18c/kg from O grade cattle compared to the R3 base, but are not giving back the correct bonus for U grade animals.
However, this assertion was rejected by Meat Industry Ireland (MII), with a spokesman for the processors insisting that those factories applying the quality payment system (QPS) were doing so fairly.
ICSA analysis of the official Department of Agriculture factory steer prices for the first week of February shows that the R3 price averaged 297.8c/kg.
The average 03 price was 279.57c/kg -- a cut of 18.21c/kg compared to the base, in line with what is prescribed by the price grid.
However, the bonus for U grade stock was just 11.5c/kg, 6.5c/kg short of the expected 18c/kg top-up for quality animals. On a 370kg carcass this equates to a loss of €24.
"This analysis reinforces the ICSA argument that the grid is not giving sufficient reward to encourage the breeding and feeding of U grade cattle," ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin claimed.
"On the other hand, we are getting the worst of all worlds, where O grade cattle are being fully penalised," he added.