ABP brings in bonus grid for Beef Group
A NEW bonus grid has been introduced for the 1000 active members of ABPs Traditional Beef Group.
Producers who deliver cattle that classify E3 and 4L to the companys Ellesmere, Shropshire, plant will get £10 rather than £6 a head, and there will be higher payments on other animals that meet specifications.
Price discrimination against eligible heifers is also to end, which could increase producer returns by 4p/kg, or £12 a head.
General manager David Fleet-wood told the groups annual meeting that work was advanced on a new payment system based on yield of saleable products rather than the EU carcass classification grid.
Results from cutting thousands of beef carcasses were being evaluated to find a reliable way of predicting actual yield of every cut. This would ensure that producers of the most profitable carcasses could be rewarded.
"Breeders will have more information about what they should aim for when selecting breeding and store cattle," Mr Fleetwood said.
Richard Cracknell, head of ABPs UK operations, urged producers to lobby for the continuation of the subsidy to renderers, and warned that without it the extra cost of removing offals would be the equivalent of 6 or 7p/kg, or £20 a beast.
Welcoming the decision by McDonalds to buy British beef again as a "marvellous morale boost", he also complimented the MLC for promotional activity during the crisis. But he described the calf slaughter scheme as a terrible thing that was damaging the beef industry.
MLC economist Jane Connor confirmed that beef imports continued to have a big impact on the market. Imports in 1996 totalled 32,224t compared with 20,384t the year before. The average GB cattle price in May was 11.5% down on 1996, but the fall in Ireland was 19.4%, and French producers received 18.93% less.
But she predicted some European supplies would be diverted to other markets after the start of the new GATT year on July 1.
There should be some firming in price as a result. More prime cattle would be slaughtered during 1997, but more of these would be heifers producing lighter carcasses. *