'Engaging with Department and Teagasc would be first step in reviewing Grid'- Meat Industry Ireland

Farm organisations have been calling for a review of the QPS beef grid for some time.
Farm organisations have been calling for a review of the QPS beef grid for some time.
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) have said engaging with the Department of Agriculture and Teagasc would be the 'first step' to reviewing possible changes to the QPS grid.

Senior Director of MII Cormac Healy told the Farming Independent that the QPS which was introduced in 2009 was designed with the aim of rewarding quality and market suitability.

“The essential elements of the QPS are rewarding quality and market suitability.  From its origins, the QPS was about rewarding better grading animals and animals that best meet the marketplace requirements,” he said.

“The current grid structure is based on science and yield.  The science and the market will remain at the core of the QPS.  To progress matters, in the first instance we will engage with DAFM and Teagasc.”

This follows comments made by Mr Healy last week where he stated that “possible changes to the grid may need to be explored”.

ICSA Beef Chair Edmund Graham stated that better quality conformation cattle often get the lowest prices and said that a team needs to be set up a soon as possible to review the grid.

Laois suckler farmer Henry Burns added if the grid is to be reviewed then the price gap between U and O grade cattle should be higher to ensure the highest quality animals get the highest prices.

“There are issues with price and technical specifications but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still very difficult to make a living wage out of suckler farming,” said Mr Burns.

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“We have to accept that the suckler cow is a premium animal and that if the meat yield coming off it is higher than a higher price should be paid.

“I accept to some extent that the Minister can’t control the price but he can deliver supports and a suckler payment.”

Laois IFA Chair Francie Gorman said that the meeting highlighted the level of frustration amongst beef and suckler farmers many of whom are in “severe debt and experiencing the worst prices in farming memory”

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said that once more this government is totally out of touch with rural Ireland and failing to deliver for beef farmers amid ongoing protests and public meetings across the country.

"Beef farmers are at tipping point on whether their livelihoods will be preserved. Despite raising the issue in the Dáil with the Minister about the request submitted to the EU Commission for CAP compensation funding, no information was forthcoming.

"Farm families livelihoods are on the wire. Beef farmers cannot be left to wither and wait for compensation. Government must deliver and make this happen now."

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