Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Warning on QPS penalties

Martin Ryan

Beef factory bosses have been warned against imposing further penalties on producers under the quality payment system (QPS) for cattle.

The concession of 6c/kg on 4= fat score cattle is due to end later this week amid silence from the factories on their intentions for next week's kill.

ICMSA president Jackie Cahill has warned the processors that any further penalty on cattle under "an unfair QPS opposed by a majority of producers" will further damage the confidence of producers.

"The QPS is seriously damaging farmer confidence in producing cattle for the factories, because it is neither fair nor transparent, and it is going to do long-term damage to the whole industry, including the meat factories," Mr Cahill said.

"Irish cattle producers had the most complex grade/price system in Europe imposed on them at a few days' notice last December and the sooner it is scrapped -- until a fairer formula is agreed with farmers -- the better for the future of the whole industry," he added.

"Half the annual kill is made up of O/P grade cattle. Returns to producers for these animals have been decimated. Any further penalty would be a retrograde step, because the QPS is going to cost processors loss of cattle and loss of jobs, if the present approach towards producers is continued," Mr Cahill warned.

He said that ICMSA fully supported a quality-based system for cattle purchase which could be understood by farmers and did not unfairly penalise more than half the producers.

The concession of 6c/kg on 4+ fat score was extended earlier in the year. The concession of 6c/kg on 4= expires this weekend. The removal of either of the concessions would have the effect of reducing returns to producers by €20-25/hd.

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Meat Industry Ireland has declined to return calls over the past week, seeking confirmation on their intention regarding the 4= penalty.

Irish Independent