Let's have the truth on the grid changes
Have the beef processors unilaterally changed the rules governing the Quality Payment System (QPS) for cattle?
Has a two-tier price grid been introduced by the factories?
These are the questions farmers are asking in the wake of reports that factories are heavily discounting stock that does not meet the criteria for the In-Spec Quality Assured (QA) bonus.
Under the grid, a bonus of 12c/kg was supposed to be paid for In-Spec QA cattle, but all stock were to be bought off the same base price.
This is not happening at the moment and is unlikely to happen any time soon.
Farmers who contacted the Farming Independent over the last fortnight confirmed that discounts of between 10c and 30c/kg below the quoted base price were being imposed on cattle that did not meet the In-Spec QA bonus criteria or were from non-QA herds.
The penalties vary from plant to plant and from one load of cattle to another. The 30c/kg penalty seems to have been levied in the west and south, while it falls to 10-15c/kg in the east.
Sellers also report deals being done on the penalties for mixed loads of In-Spec and 'out-of-spec' cattle.