Creed rules out slaugh­ter pre­mium for suck­ler cows

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS -

AGRI­CUL­TURE Min­is­ter, Michael Creed, has rowed back from suggestions that an early slaugh­ter pre­mium could be em­ployed to sup­port suck­ler cow num­bers.

Min­is­ter Creed in­ti­mated in me­dia re­ports last week that the in­tro­duc­tion of a slaugh­ter pre­mium for the beef sec­tor might be con­sid­ered.

The idea pro­voked a sharp re­sponse from the ICSA, who said slaugh­ter pre­mi­ums were sim­ply a “sub­sidy to meat fac­to­ries and con­sumers”.

How­ever, by yes­ter­day the min­is­ter ap­peared to aban­don the no­tion of re-in­tro­duc­ing such pre­mi­ums.

He pointed out that the Beef Data and Ge­nomics Pro­gramme (BDGP) re­mained the main sup­port specif­i­cally tar­geted for the suck­ler sec­tor and that fur­ther funds were not avail­able un­der Pil­lar I or Pil­lar II to fund fur­ther sub­ven­tions.

“Any al­lo­ca­tion of fund­ing un­der Pil­lar I of the CAP for a cou­pled pay­ment would in prin­ci­ple re­quire a lin­ear re­duc­tion to all ex­ist­ing farm­ers Ba­sic Pay­ment Scheme pay­ments for re­dis­tri­bu­tion,” Min­is­ter Creed ex­plained.

“I am not of the view that tak­ing al­ready com­mit­ted money from farm­ers un­der the CAP is an ap­pro­pri­ate means by which to sup­port suck­ler farm­ers,” he in­sisted.

The min­is­ter pointed out that BDGP will be worth €300m to suck­ler farm­ers by the end of the cur­rent ru­ral de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme, and that over­all sup­ports were equiv­a­lent to ap­prox­i­mately €500 per suck­ler cow.

He said the Depart­ment did not have the funds for a fully ex­che­quer funded scheme, and that any such mea­sure would need Com­mis­sion ap­proval. Mean­while, ICSA pres­i­dent, Pa­trick Kent, dis­missed the idea of re-in­tro­duc­ing slaugh­ter pre­mi­ums.


“Slaugh­ter pre­mia have been tried be­fore and all they do is give a sub­sidy to meat fac­to­ries and con­sumers,” Mr Kent said.

“Peo­ple for­get that beef price dur­ing the cou­pled pay­ments era was stuck at €2.50/kg. At the mo­ment beef price is €4.20 for Rs and ris­ing and un­der-16 month bulls are be­ing bought on the grid so they can fetch over €4.40 for top U grades,” he pointed out. “I sus­pect that the meat in­dus­try is be­hind this as they are look­ing at scarcity, in­creased op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­ports to China and live ex­ports. The meat in­dus­try would love a slice of farm­ers’ ex­ist­ing Pil­lar 1 pay­ments as a means of keep­ing a lid on prices.”

Mr Kent said the re-in­tro­duc­tion of slaugh­ter pre­mi­ums for young cat­tle would en­cour­age in­ten­sive fin­ish­ing with im­ported ce­re­als. This would run counter to the pro­mo­tion of Ir­ish beef as a grass-fed prod­uct, he ex­plained.

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