'5th quarter is worth €135/animal and farmers deserve their fair share'

Figures show that 'fifth quarter' is worth around €135/animal, the ICSA has said. REUTERS/Vincent West
Figures show that 'fifth quarter' is worth around €135/animal, the ICSA has said. REUTERS/Vincent West
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The fifth quarter of cattle is worth in the region of €135 per animal and farmers must get their fair share of this, the ICSA has said.

ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has said he is pleased that some clarity is finally emerging regarding the value of the fifth quarter.

“There was a time when offal and skins had limited or no value and in fact were costing money to dispose of; those days are long gone. Instead, the fifth quarter is becoming more and more valuable. We have seen factories invest in new facilities to reap the benefits but they have been very reluctant to admit that farmers should be getting some of the benefit.”

Bord Bia figures have revealed that offal exports from Ireland were worth €230m in 2017, which equates to about €135 per animal across all categories, he said.

“Bord Bia is looking at all parts of the animal to see where there might be opportunities with countries in South East Asia proving very valuable from an offal and by-product point of view.”

“2018 is predicted to see another rise in the numbers of cattle slaughtered with some 1.8m expected. Processors do not pay for offal and other by-products and also have the benefit of Bord Bia actively looking for markets for these products they get for free.

"This can only be described as a real bonanza for processors. It’s another reason why there is a need for a review of the grid as it no longer seems fit for purpose as a way of determining what the farmer is owed.

"It also highlights again that ICSA has been absolutely correct in looking for much more transparency around who earns what along the complete supply chain from farmers to processors to retailers.”

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He sad the figures vindicate ICSA’s position at the beef forum over two years in which the association suggested that up to €150 extra revenue per animal was accruing to meat factories.

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