asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries the price farmers are being offered for reactors; and if this price is the same as factory prices.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cattle Prices.
Farmers are being offered full market price for reactor cattle taken up by the Department under the bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis eradication schemes. In arriving at this price the Department take into account the level of prices prevailing both at marts and meat factories having regard to factors such as the breed, type, condition and weight of the animal. The owner of the animal can, if he so wishes, obtain a permit from the Department to sell the animal direct to a factory, in which event he retains the full salvage value realised.
Is it not a fact that the Department are availing of the present low prices in paying people who send in reactors?
The position now is the same as it has always been. The Department have regard to prevailing prices at marts and meat factories and reactor valuations are kept in line with market prices. That has been the position since this system was established.
Could the Parliamentary Secretary say which price he considers the market value? Is it the one prevailing in the cattle mart at the moment, the one obtainable at the meat factory or, if the animal goes into intervention, is it the intervention price?
Reactors cannot go into intervention.
They are precluded.
At present, and the principle applied by the Department's officers in buying reactors is to pay what would be regarded as the market value of the animal if it were sold on the open market without the knowledge that it had reacted to a test.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the difference between the market price and what you would get in the factory could be £30 or £35?
As I have already indicated, the Department's valuers have regard to the prevailing prices at marts and meat factories, and reactor valuations are kept in line with market prices. A herd owner is free to sell reactor cattle direct to a factory as an alternative to accepting the Department's price.
I am sorry. I have allowed the Deputy to ask a fair number of supplementaries.
For Deputy Gibbons's information, reactors would not qualify for slaughter premium or intervention purchase.
If a farmer opts for the factory, would the Department be able to get the animal into the factory at present?
That is his own private business. He can do that if he thinks the factory price will be better.