Farm Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

Only 20pc of cattle on QPS premiums

Martin Ryan

ONLY 20pc of cattle killed in 2011 scored higher than the base price in the Quality Payment System (QPS) cattle grid.

The figures are based on Department of Agriculture analysis of the total kill at the 25 beef exporting plants in 2011.

They also highlight a gulf between meat factories on the number of steers that qualify for QPS premium payments.

The proportion of steers qualifying for a QPS premium ranged from less than 1pc to almost 38pc of the steer kill in individual factories last year.

The figures show that less than 19pc of all steers slaughtered last year qualified for a QPS premium payment, while almost 22pc of heifers received a QPS bonus.

The results show that only a minority of beef producers receive premium payments ranging from 5-30c/kg over the base for their cattle. More than four in every five steers slaughtered in 2011 fell within the base prices or lower on grading and the same applied to over 78pc of the heifer kill.

The figures also reveal a distinct regional pattern to QPS premium payments, with farmers in the south of the country receiving fewer premium payments than their counterparts in the west, northwest and eastern regions.

ABP Clones recorded the highest percentage of steers in the premium grades, at 37.8pc of the steer kill. It was followed by Dawn Ballyhaunis, where 34.2pc of steers were paid a premium, and Liffey Meats, where 33.7pc of steers qualified for a premium.

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A further five factories paid premium payments to more than 20pc of their steer kill; Liffey Meats in Hacketstown, Moyvalley Meats, ABP Athleague, Donegal Meats and Kildare Chilling.

Seven factories (ABP Cahir, Dawn Charleville, Kepak Watergrasshill, ABP Bandon, Dawn Waterford, Ballon Meats, Carlow) had less than 10pc of steers in the premium grades and one factory -- Jennings of Ballinrobe -- recorded less than 1pc of steers in the top grades for a premium over base. The vast majority of cattle bought by Jennings of Ballinrobe are still bought on the flat-rate system.

The factories with the lowest percentage of premium grade animals are all based in intensive dairy regions with a high percentage of their supplies coming off the Friesian and Holstein/Friesian dairy herds.

Looking at the premium payments for heifers, the national average was 21.7pc, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Dawn Ballyhaunis recorded the highest percentage of heifers in the premium grades at 44.5pc, followed by ABP Clones at 40.3pc.

Donegal Meats had 37pc of its heifers in the premium grades, with Kepak Clonee at 35pc and Kepak Athleague at 31.6pc.

A further five plants recorded more than 20pc in the top grades. These were ABP Nenagh, Liffey Meats Ballyjamesduff, Liffey Meats Hacketstown and Dunbia Slane.

Three factories recorded less than 10pc, including Kepak Watergrasshill and Ballon Meats, with Jennings of Ballinrobe having the lowest percentage of heifers at premium grades at 2.3pc.

All of the figures quoted are based on Department of Agriculture classification results from all factories and do not include any bonus payment paid for quality-assured animals.

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