A PLANNED review of the quality payment system for cattle is being brought forward, it was announced following a meeting of the Irish Farmers Association-Meat Industry Ireland group.
A statement issued after the discussions, chaired by Paddy Moore, stated that pending completion of the review process, there will be no changes in the current provisions of the payment system.
Observers have interpreted the statement as meaning further price penalties on high fat score cattle due to have been imposed on July 1 are being held over until the completion of the review.
Meanwhile, in a separate beef industry issue, the ICMSA Beef and Cattle Committee chairman, Kevin Connolly, said recent revelations have called into question the reliability and accuracy of the mechanical grading system of beef carcass.
He said it is essential the Department of Agriculture moves rapidly to put in place a monitoring system that will restore and maintain farmer confidence in the system.
Mr Connolly said the ICMSA welcomed the decision to change the way the accuracy of the grading machines is continuously monitored. In this regard, the current system is inadequate and has failed to pick up machines where the calibration has gone awry. Mr Connolly said farmers will be surprised to learn the department had to act and shut down grading machines on no less than 17 occasions in 2009. He said that the work planned by the department should be put into effect as soon as possible.
Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith must allocate the necessary resources from within his department so that a satisfactory resolution can be put in place – and be seen to be put in place – and the necessary confidence restored to the system, he said.
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