Farmers around the country are reporting that ABP has, in recent days, began to implement price cuts on overweight cattle.

Some farmers are reporting significant price cuts on carcass weights in excess of 420kg.

However, in a statement to Agriland, ABP Ireland said it does not have a company-wide policy on carcase weight penalties with each factory making its own decision based on the type of supply and customer requirements at any given time.

“At the outset, it is important to note that the average weight of a carcase processed by ABP Ireland is 340kg. Consequently, the implementation and extent of any weight penalties for cattle over 420kg will reflect these conditions and will be a matter between the local plant and the supplier.

“ABP Ireland is in ongoing discussions with our suppliers on market requirements and has encouraged our producers of heavy cattle to discuss options with us,” it said.

Since the foundation of the Beef Forum in late 2014, a moratorium has been in place for 14 months regarding heavy cattle.

The moratorium came to an end last month. Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the representative body for beef processors, advised farmers intending to present overweight cattle to maintain close contact with their processors in advance of presenting such animals.

“These animals are a small minority of the national kill and securing best value for our beef in international markets is strongly dependent on producing cattle that meet the specifications demanded by customers.

“From a farmer’s perspective it makes no sense that in-spec animals should be subsidising the minority of out-of-spec cattle,” he said.