One of the country’s leading farmer representative groups is calling on meat processors to observe the four-month notice rule for implementing changes to weight limits, as set out in the Beef Sector Agreement.

The Irish Creamery and Milk Supplier’s Association (ICMSA) has “demanded that any meat plant that has recently imposed weight limits should immediately suspend them”.

The farmer association is also calling for no further charges to be implemented that are “not in accordance with the agreement”.

Des Morrison, the ICMSA’s Livestock Committee chairperson, has highlighted that the agreement “clearly set out no change in weight limits without a minimum of four months’ notice to the farmer”.

Morrison noted that farmers have “reported on new weight limits being introduced by meat plants, imposing significant penalties for animals above certain weight limits, in turn having a substantial negative impact on the value of the animal”.

“ICMSA’s position is very clear that changes to weight limits cannot be introduced without four months’ notice, and if they have been introduced without that notice then those changes should be suspended,” Morrison added.

“ICMSA will be meeting with the department [of agriculture, food and the marine] on this and other beef matters this week and we will be asking the department to ensure that this aspect of the agreement is observed and implemented in full,” the ICMSA livestock chairperson added.

Dairy calf-to-beef scheme

In other ICMSA news, the association last week announced the details of a new scheme which it said “incentivises farmers to rear sustainable dairy beef”.

The association is suggesting that beef cross calves from the dairy herd be subsidised to the value of €150 in two payments: €75 on receipt of recorded weights at 6-10 months; and the second payment at slaughter.

However, the calves would have to be sired by a beef bull with good beef characteristics.