IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said factories are using carcase weight cuts to flatten the beef price on winter finishers in an attempt to get cheaper beef. He said with only 10% of our finished beef cattle over 420 kgs carcase weight, factories and Bord Bia are failing our best and most productive suckler farmers in the market place with penal weight limits.
Henry Burns said that by imposing uneconomic carcase weight cuts on our best quality suckler animals, factories are undermining all of the advice and research work from Teagasc and others on the need for farmers to improve and breed better and more productive cattle. He said the carcase weight price cuts that some factories have imposed over recent weeks are a direct attack on the Quality Payment System (QPS) and our quality suckler herd.
The IFA Livestock leader said farmers cannot understand why the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney will not stand up for them, considering it is specifically written into the Beef Forum outcomes that ‘Processors agree that there will be no dual base pricing for steers and heifers in individual processing plants, by breed, age or weight or Quality Assurance status’.”
He said IFA has pointed this out very clearly to the Minister at the last Beef Forum, but it appears he just wants to ignore it with the factories.
Henry Burns said EU Commission data shows that average carcase weights in Ireland are below those in the UK, Italy, France and Germany, our main export markets.
The IFA Livestock leader said the imposition of carcase weights restrictions or cuts will seriously undermine the suckler cow herd and the QPS as the heavier carcases are the R and U grading carcases from the suckler herd. These are also the carcases that attract bonuses under the QPS but would be cut under a carcase weight limit.
He said IFA is strongly opposed to the imposition of carcase weight limits, which will have a very negative impact on the Irish beef sector and especially the suckler cow herd and quality cattle.