The conclusion of beef sector negotiations has been welcomed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), with some key elements of the deal lauded.

ICSA president Edmond Phelan highlighted the fact that an extra 8c/kg, that was never previously available, has been secured under the agreement for cattle over 30 months – which was a big achievement, he added.

In addition, another 8c/kg was got for under 30-month in-spec cattle, bringing their bonus to 20c/kg.

O- and 4+ categories will get an extra 12c/kg, having previously been ineligible for a QAS bonus.

The president noted that a very important outcome is that Bord Bia will create a beef market index which will provide a lot more insight into whether the factories are paying the best price possible, given market conditions.

The index will be linked to three elements: cattle prices in our markets; beef price at retail; and wholesale level and the fifth quarter.

It has also been confirmed that a regulator is being considered as part of the implementation of the EU directive on Unfair Trading Practices.

The agreement has also confirmed that factory insurance is voluntary and has reduced the the 70 days residency requirement to 60 days on the last farm.

Recognising the “tremendous sacrifices made by protesting farmers”, Phelan said:

The meat industry has been confronted with the reality that farmers cannot survive on current prices – and farmers and their representatives have worked in a unified way to squeeze the maximum concessions out of meat factories, given the current market conditions.

“In light of this agreement, ICSA is recommending that protests should now come to and end, so that farmers who need to sell cattle can do so,” Phelan concluded.