Beef processor St Merryn has made amendments to payment changes for beef cattle in response to feedback from producers.
St Merryn, owned by Two Sisters, implemented changes to the structure of farmer payments from January 4 this year, a move which caused tension between the NFU and St Merryn over whether the changes were in keeping with the spirit of the beef processor code of practice.
The changes included a decision not to pay a beef-bred premium on cattle between 400kg and 420kg deadweight, but in a letter to producers the firm said following comments from regular suppliers it would now pay this premium.
Animals in this weight range will be penalised 5p/kg, but the 10p/kg premium on top of this will boost farm returns.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “It is good to see Two Sisters has responded to concerns from producers. It is slightly disappointing not all of farmers’ concerns have been addressed, but I wholeheartedly applaud St Merryn in showing this is a two-way street.
“Improved communications for all parts of the chain is essential for better returns for everyone. The processor code is a first step in this for many and I hope in 2016 we will see renewed interest from the meat industry in improving transparency in the trade.”
There are a number of stipulations to the bonus payment, for example animals entered under specific Aberdeen-Angus and Welsh Black scheme will not accrue the bonus.