Changes to Irish Hereford Prime bonus scheme announced

From Monday, March 30, a number of changes with regard to the bonus payment available to Irish Hereford Prime members will come into effect.

As before, all Hereford or Hereford-cross steers and heifers (under 30 months-of-age) will be eligible for a bonus payment, provided they come from herds that are part of the Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme.

However, to meet the qualifying criteria, steers and heifers must hit a carcass weight of 240-380kg – up from the minimum carcass weight of 220kg previously, with a fat score between 2+ and 4+.

In addition, O- grading heifers will no longer qualify for a bonus payment, with steers and heifers grading O= and O+ receiving a bonus of 10c/kg all year round; additional conformation grade top-ups are also available.

R- and R= steers and heifers will receive an extra 2c/kg on top of the Irish Hereford Prime bonus, R+ grades will receive an extra 4c/kg; U-grading steers and heifers will receive an additional 6c/kg on top of the Irish Hereford Prime bonus.

  • O= and O+: 10c/kg;
  • R- and R=: 12c/kg;
  • R+: 14c/kg;
  • U: 16c/kg. 

In a letter to Irish Hereford Prime members, the reason for the changes was explained as follows:

“Market demands have made it necessary to place continued emphasis on the quality and consistency of the product we offer to our customers.

“With this in mind, we have slightly increased the minimum qualifying carcass weight from 220kg to 240kg and also modified the qualifying heifer conformation grade that now sees O= grade or better being eligible. 

“To simplify our bonus payment structure and keep consistency throughout the year, the decision has been taken to move away from any extra pre-booked off-season payments. 

“The change in supply pattern of our cattle and also the increased demand for our beef has led us to a simplified all-year-round bonus with additional payments for higher-grading animals.”