Factories are accused of moving to a two-tier grid
The factories have been accused of moving to a two-tier beef grid after penalties of up to €130/hd were levied last week for non-quality assured cattle.
Reductions in the base price of between 10c/kg and 30c/kg have been introduced by slaughter plants for stock that do not qualify for the factories' In-Spec Quality Assurance (QA) bonus.
Plants in the west and south were quoting a base of 380c/kg last week for cattle that did not qualify for the In-Spec QA bonus. This was 30c/kg below their quoted base price of 410c/kg.
In one case reported to the Farming Independent, a farmer in the west supplied 10 non-QA cattle to Dawn Ballyhaunis.
The seller was paid a base price of 380c/kg, despite the factory being on a quoted base of 410c/kg.
The 30c/kg penalty meant the farmer in question lost €130/hd on the 10 cattle, or €1,300 overall, as they killed out at an average of 433kg.
Under the terms of the quality payment system (QPS) or grid, a 12c/kg bonus on top of the quoted base is to be paid for all In-Spec QA cattle.
However, this latest move by the factories appears to confirm that a two-tier pricing system is developing, with severe penalties being imposed for non-QA steers and heifers.