Farm Ireland

Friday 27 April 2018

1,000 farmers joining QA scheme every month

Martin Ryan

Almost 1,000 livestock farmers per month are lining up to become accredited producers under the quality assurance (QA) scheme in a effort to improve returns from beef.

Certification can be worth up to 12c/kg bonus on factory prices. But producers have hit out strongly against the processors for including additional criteria to qualify for the bonus payment on livestock.

Bord Bia's beef specialist, Joe Burke, has confirmed that the restrictions on the number of lifetime movements and residency requirements prior to slaughter to qualify for the bonus at the factories are not part of the Bord Bia Scheme.

"These have been introduced by the processors for commercial reasons," he said.

A surge in demand by producers for certification followed the horsemeat scandal in early 2013, leading to almost 10,000 farmers joining the scheme during the year. Difficulties in disposal of non-QA stock at the end of last year has given the scheme a further boost.

Bord Bia has confirmed that livestock farmers have been queueing up for accreditation at a rate of almost 1,000 per month since the beginning of 2014.

For the first four months 3,883 applications were received, of which 95pc have been granted accreditation.

Bord Bia has confirmed that the principle reason for the 5pc failure rate is due to issues with compliance on administering and recording of animal remedies, most of which are resolved once the farmer is advised of standards required.

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Michael Harty of Central Auctions marts at Birr, Roscrea and Nenagh said that the movement and residency restrictions are having a huge impact on live sales.

"If an animal is coming off a QA farm there should be no residency restriction on a QA farmer who buys the animal," he said.

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