Beef grid has cost farmers €100m in the last decade claims ICMSA
Claims that the Quality Pricing System (QPS) has delivered positive results for beef producers have been challenged head on by the ICMSA, who insist that a complete review is urgently overdue.
The association has offered to open their books to show that since its introduction in 2009, the QPS has cost beef producers in excess of €100m in reduced payments for stock purchased under the new system.
Des Morrison, chair of the ICMSA livestock committee, has called for “an acceptance by all parties that farmer confidence in the QPS has fallen below a level where it is possible to carry on” and claims that the system is now actually damaging the beef sector.
“It is simply a fact that farmers all over the state, of every size and regardless of whether suckler or dairy, have now concluded that the QPS has to be, at the very least, reviewed and re-examined to see if it was fit-for-purpose” he said.
He said that vague reassurances were no longer sufficient “if ever they had been”, and an independent review is now required.
The IFA claimed in a presentation discussed at the March national council meeting that meeting the ‘in-spec’ criteria under the QPS is no longer a problem for the majority of producers.
The presentation stated that 93pc of steers and heifers being supplied to the factories are Bord Bia Quality Assured, while 74pc of steers and 86pc of heifers are under 30 months.
In defence of the system, the IFA has claimed that a majority of the prime beef animals slaughtered at the export plants are meeting all of the criteria for the QPS bonus of 12 cents/kg.
The IFA’s Angus Woods warned that a review of the QPS grid could result in the introduction of a more complex payment system.