The View from Northern IrelandThe Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is to meet the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA) to discuss the impending increase in penalties for young bulls.

According to UFU beef and lamb chairman Robert Davidson: “Once we became aware that some meat processors in Northern Ireland intended to implement tougher penalties on young bulls over 16 months from 1 January 2014 we requested a meeting on the issue.

“Farmers will be very disappointed to learn that some factories will be penalising young bulls over 16 months more heavily in the New Year.”

Penalties are already in the region of around 10-20p/kg for young bulls over 16 months.

The UFU has arranged to meet with the NIMEA in the coming weeks. “We want to establish the reasons behind these increased penalties and what the proposed additional reductions are likely to be,” Davidson explained.

“In the past, meat processors have altered penalties without warning, such as this year’s hike in non-farm quality assurance penalties.  Given the long lead in time for beef, the UFU have constantly reiterated that market signals need to be clear, consistent and communicated well in advance to allow farmers to adapt their systems accordingly.”

Image Continental bullocks on grass. Photo O’Gorman Photography.