Farm Ireland

Friday 24 November 2017

Meat processors scrap QA premium on over-age animals

Sinead O'Sullivan from Bandon pictured with her champion cow at the Clonakilty Co Cork. Photo: Denis Boyle

Martin Ryan

Payment of the Quality Assurance premium on over-age animals has been dropped by the country's beef processors as it was "not sustainable".

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) confirmed the €3/hd on steers and heifers agreed for over-30 month cattle under the Beef Forum in 2014 is no longer in place as proposals to achieve a "cost neutral" basis were unsuccessful.

It was confirmed as it emerged more than 4,000 QA audits have been carried out in the Bord Bia beef and lamb assurance scheme under the new 'yellow card' model introduced in April.

However, producers claim major issues remain to be resolved to ensure full transparency and fair play for farmers supplying meat plants.

Following a meeting with Bord Bia over the implementation of a protocol for the new scheme, the ICMSA's Michael Guinan said the farmer must have the right to change auditors if they have concerns in relation to a particular auditor.

"While it is being called the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme, it should be known as the beef processors premium payment scheme, because the processors added their own criteria to qualify, which were not included in the Bord Bia formula," he said.

The addition of the one month close-out period or yellow card system has alleviated pressure on farmers and allows them the extra time to deal with small non-compliance issues," said Mr Guinan.

MII said that advance warning had been given at the Beef Forum that the payment on overage animals from QA farms would not be sustainable unless it was cost neutral.

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The spokesman said that in the absence of any agreement on a proposal put forward by MII to implement the originally agreed fat adjustments on 4=/4+ then the €3/hd "was not sustainable".

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