The IFA has said it’s “extremely difficult” to see how a new ABP beef bonus scheme provides any “guarantee of price”, which it said the company claims.
The Advantage Beef Programme launched in recent weeks aims to promote younger age of slaughter for cattle sourced from suckler and dairy herds, while also promoting lower levels of antibiotic usage.
ABP has said the scheme provides greater assurances to farmers through four key enterprise drivers: best-in-class genetics, process efficiencies, a guaranteed minimum base price and valuable supports.
A sustainability bonus of €0.20/kg will be paid on all programme cattle meeting scheme requirements in addition to the Quality Assurance (QA) Bonus. All cattle will be paid on the average quoted price (AQP) for steers and heifers of the seven ABP/Slaney plants on the week of slaughter on the grid. It includes cattle sourced from the dairy and beef herds.
Among the programme requirements are:
⬤ Animal must be reared all of life in a Bord Bia Quality Assured herd;
⬤ Maximum of one movement (two residencies);
⬤ Minimum of 20 cattle per finisher herd.
Reducing the age of slaughter is a key element of the programme with specific requirements for different types of cattle.
⬤ Heifer (suckler): Max age 26 months
⬤ Heifer (dairy): Max age 24 months
⬤ Steer (suckler): Max age 28 months
⬤ Steer (dairy): Max age 26 months
⬤ Bulls: Under 16 months
Reacting to the scheme, IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said the programme is clearly seeking to react to the increased societal demands on climate action and antibiotic usage in food production.
He added farmers are acutely aware of these increased demands from society and policy makers, and said the IFA has openly stated it will play its part.
However, he said these changes to production systems and management practices do not come without additional costs and the need for time to implement at farm level.
Golden said as the programme proposes to pay bonuses on the average quoted price of the seven ABP/Slaney plants for the week of slaughter, “it’s extremely difficult to see how this provides any ‘guarantee of price’, which the company claims”.
He said security must be provided to beef finishers by all factories of longer-term price contracts/agreements that protect farmers from taking all of the financial risks.