Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Half of drystock farmers claim QPS unfair

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Close to one-third of drystock farmers believe that the quality payment system (QPS) for cattle is fair, but 48pc are dissatisfied with the regime.

A Farming Independent survey of 424 beef and sheep farmers at last week's Ploughing Championships in Athy found just 3pc classed the QPS as 'very fair', while 26pc said it was 'fair'. In contrast, 28pc of the drystock farmers said the QPS was 'unfair', with a further 20pc maintaining it was 'very unfair'. A further 23pc said the payment system was 'neither fair nor unfair'.

Farmers opposed to the new payment system said it was too complicated and that they found it more difficult to value their stock.

However, supporters of the initiative argued that some mechanism had to be put in place to reward the production of quality beef animals.

A total of 1,008 farmers took part in the survey overall. While 48pc of those questioned came out against the payment grid, 26pc supported it.

Five per cent of the farmers surveyed classed the QPS as 'fair', 21pc said it was 'very fair', 28pc said it was 'unfair', with 20pc claiming it was 'very unfair'. The remaining 26pc maintained that the grid was 'neither fair nor unfair'.

Given that dairy stock are heavily penalised by the grid, it was hardly surprising that opposition was strongest in this particular quarter. While 32pc of dairy farmers said the grid was 'unfair', a further 21pc classed it as 'very unfair'.

Just 18pc of milk producers supported the payment system -- however, 29pc were not openly opposed to the initiative and said it was 'neither fair nor unfair'.

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A third of farmers with mixed cereals and drystock operations came out in favour of the payment system. Eleven per cent said the grid was 'very fair', while a further 22pc maintained that it was 'fair'.

A quarter of these farmers said the grid was 'unfair', 22pc claimed it was 'very unfair', while 20pc said it was 'neither fair nor unfair'.

Irish Independent