Detailed statistics on prices and throughput of stock under the Quality Pricing System (QPS) for cattle at the factories is to be released by the Department or Agriculture.
A major upgrading of the software at the Beef Classification Unit of the Department has been carried out over recent months and trial runs on the new grading system have now been completed, with the results reported to be very satisfactory.
The analysis will show that there are 225 possible grades for both steers and heifers in the QPS, which was introduced in December 2009, when all splits in conformation and fat score possibilities are taken into account. The detailed information on the QPS, which is to be made available on the Department website from April, will be a major step forward in providing greater transparency around the new grading system and the exact pricing for each category.
It will enable producers to precisely measure the cost/benefit of the payment grid compared to the old grading format.
The Department website will show the exact number of steers/heifers in each grade, each conformation sub-grade and each fat score sub-grade. This information will be available for each factory, with a total of 225 parameters for each category.
The prices paid for each grade subsection for each factory in the country will also be published on the Department website for each week, with the information becoming available to producers within a week.
The composite price average for the total national kill for the week will also be provided.
The release of details of the average price paid for each of the 225 categories, for each factory in the Republic has already started and is now available on the website.
The corresponding information on the number of animals within each category is also being compiled for each factory for each week.
It was hoped that these details would be available weekly. However, the Department has confirmed that it intends to release this section of the analysis on a quarterly basis, with the results for the first quarter of this year due in April.
Since the introduction of the QPS, the factories have been required to provide the breakdown on both the number of animals being slaughtered in each grade and the price that was paid for each week's kill by Monday afternoon of the following week.
The comprehensive data now being published by the Department will provide greater transparency for producers on both prices actually being paid for cattle in each category and the make-up of the national kill, particularly the percentage of stock in each of the various QPS grades.