Cattle and sheep association calls for grid payment system for farmers

THE Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has called for a beef payment system that gives a substantial reward to quality cattle.

ICSA president Malcolm Thompson said the association has given an unequivocal backing to a grid payment system which must in turn give significant bonuses to farmers.

He said this move has been motivated by serious concern about the future viability of quality suckler production in Ireland.

This was especially true in view of disappointing weanling prices and the savage budget cut to the suckler welfare scheme, he said.

Mr Thompson said apart from the importance of the suckler herd, it is critical that beef prices reward the production of quality cattle in line with market demands, especially on continental markets.

Quality cattle in Europe, especially in Ireland’s key export markets, get a substantial bonus, while quality cattle in Ireland have for too long been under-rewarded.

"The ICSA is now calling on the meat industry and other farm organisations to row in behind it in moving forward to implement a quality pricing grid in a co-ordinated way.

ICSA Beef Committee chairman Sean Scully said a strong incentive for Irish finishers is needed to ensure the best suckler weanlings can be bought and that finished animals deliver a viable profit to the beef farmer.