IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said there is a strong demand from farmers all across the country that animals coming from a Quality Assurance herd should receive a QA price incentive. He said this issue is raised at almost every livestock farmer meeting.
Henry Burns said IFA lobbied hard at the Beef Forum on this issue. It was agreed with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney that factories will introduce a price incentive for all steers and heifers from Quality Assured farms from January 1st 2015. In addition he said it was also agreed at the Beef Forum with Minister Coveney, that the current 12c/kg in-spec bonus under the Quality Payment System will be maintained.
Henry Burns said farmers are frustrated that despite all of their animals meeting the Bord Bia on-farm quality assurance standards, only about one third of all steers receive the current QPS in-spec bonus. He said all animals that are reared to the Bord Bia QA standard should be entitled to receive a level of quality assurance payment, while those animals meeting the higher value market specification should be entitled to an additional higher in-spec bonus, as well as the higher rewards in the price grid.
The IFA National Livestock leader said the Department of Agriculture classification figures show that the new quality assurance payment will favour better quality cattle in the ratio of 2 to 1 for steers. He said with 93% of all steers coming from quality assured farms, an extra 328,000 steers will receive the new payment of which 65% are from cattle grading O= or better and 35% from cattle grading O- or less. In value terms, the higher weights of the better grading animals will mean that the ratio will be closer to 3 to 1. On heifers, he said a total of 193,000 additional heifers will get the new payment, of which 4 out of 5 or 81% will be from animals grading O= or better.
Henry Burns said IFA is very clear that there must also be a Quality Assurance bonus on bull beef coming from Bord Bia QA farms.