'Flood of cattle' hindering QPS revision says Bryan
IFA president John Bryan conceded that the association was "not happy" with elements of the quality pricing system (QPS) for beef cattle.
However, he said negotiations with the beef processors on changes to the grid had stalled due to the recent "flood of cattle" to factories.
There was not a single supporting voice for the QPS among more than 80 Limerick farmers who packed a county IFA executive meeting in Adare last week. Challenged with factual prices on the effect of the QPS on O grade animals, Mr Bryan strenuously denied that there was any net loss to beef producers.
The IFA leader maintained that there was widespread support among beef producers for the QPS, and he pointed out that O grade cattle prices in Ireland were among the highest in the EU.
But when the meeting rejected the payment system, he admitted that the IFA was "not happy either" and that the biggest obstacle to achieving change had been the recent flood of cattle to the factories.
Mr Bryan said that IFA wanted the concession on 4+ and 4= made permanent, O- stock to qualify for the Quality Assurance bonus, and the over-age penalty to apply only to animals over 36 months.
There were calls from the floor for the withdrawal of the grid and proper independent supervision of grading and weighing systems in the factories.
Mr Bryan said IFA was very disappointed with the current factory base price, which he described as "the real problem" in the beef sector. He said there was little hope of a significant increase in factory quotes until the supply dropped below 30,000hd/week.