Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Fat score splits add another 50 grid categories

MII confirms additional subdivisions

Martin Ryan

SEVERAL grades that are not on the official list for the Quality Payment System (QPS) for cattle are being operated by the factories, it has emerged.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has confirmed that the operation of the grid at the factories includes splits in fat scores 2, 3 and 5 across the conformation scores, none of which were included in the published list of 60 grades under the QPS.

The inclusion of fat scores 2-, 2=, 3-, 3+ and 5- to the grid, across the 10 conformation grades, has increased the number of combination grades by an additional 50, now giving a total of 110. Fat scores 2+, 3 and 5 were already included.

The MII spokesperson said that the additional grades were not included on the official published grid for "simplicity".

The enquiry into the full breakdown of the QPS was initiated after factory cattle dockets supplied to the Farming Independent by farmers in different counties and supplying different factories showed a range of grades and prices which were outside of the officially listed grid grades.

In some cases it was found that up to half the grades applied to carcasses were not on the grid as originally published and that there was also a range of different prices being paid.

"Under the 15-point grading system there are three sub- classes in each conformation grade and each fat score, eg U+, U=, U- or 4+, 4=, 4-. Therefore there is a 2-, 2= and a 2+," said MII's Cormac Healy.

"Fat score 3 (which contains sub-classes 3-, 3= and 3+) has not been sub-divided on the QPS for simplicity. These are all acceptable fat covers. Fat score 5 has also not been sub-divided into its sub-classes in the QPS. There was only 1pc of steers in fat score 5 last year," added Mr Healy.

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"I don't believe it's fair to say that these add a further 50 boxes to the grid. It doesn't mean that every fat sub-class is at a different price."

However, the factory sheets in the possession of the Farming Independent confirm that different prices are being applied by the factories to the sub-division fat scores not included on the official grid.

It is also understood that most of the factories -- though not all -- are supplying details of sub-divisions of fat scores 2 and 3 to the Department of Agriculture in their weekly reports.

Irish Independent