By FWi staff

IT would be a grave mistake to dismiss the new slaughter premium for cattle as a nuisance just because it generates more paperwork and this years payment is just 17, according to the National beef Association.

In just two years, time it will be worth 50 a head.

That is nearly double the lure contained in the revised extensification scheme, and probably much less trouble to collect too, said NBA chairman Robert Robinson.

He welcomed the new slaughter premium, saying it would mean some farmers would be persuaded to keep more animals.

That would reduce the contraction in potential beef cattle numbers as a result of Agenda 2000 proposals, he said.

However, the NBA is concerned that the premium will mean that more underfinished bullocks come forward for slaughter from next year onwards, when payments jump to about 34/head.

“Many feeders will find it impossible to resist simultaneously claiming both the Euro136 (85) second Beef Special Premium claim and the Euro53 (34)slaughter premium by giving up steers for immediate slaughter at 23 months,” said Mr Robinson.

“Unfortunately, some could still be well short of ideal finish and so the proportion of sub-standard slaughter is likely to rise,” he added.