The IFA has insisted that an independent audit of the beef cattle quality payment system (QPS) shows that returns for steers and heifers are higher since its introduction.
The association said the audit, which was commissioned by the IFA and carried out by Deloitte and Touche, indicated that steers made €4.49-7.55/hd more under QPS than they would have under the former payment system, while heifer prices were €3.31-6.19/hd stronger.
The price differentials were calculated on two different bases, with a six-week period after the QPS introduction being compared to six weeks before its introduction, and also to prices paid last year.
The study used actual kill data for steers and heifers from the Department of Agriculture.
IFA president John Bryan described the findings of the study on the QPS as "conclusive". However, he added that the real problem for beef and livestock farmers was the failure of the meat plants to return a viable base price for cattle.
"The factories have savaged returns to winter finishers this spring in their failure to return viable prices available on the UK and EU markets," Mr Bryan said.
IFA national livestock chairman Michael Doran said that the 4= must remain at the base price on a permanent basis, and this must apply across all the grades, including O=, O- and P4.