I attended the recent ICBF information meeting in Carrick regarding recent index changes. I was interested as to what information and percentage of same makes up the replacement index.

I asked the Teagasc representative present what percentage of the replacement index is made up of the calf sale price, and also if a cow producing a calf worth €1,300 versus a cow producing a calf worth €900 was reflected in the index.

To my utter amazement he replied that an average calf price of about €850 is used.

My view is that this is totally unjust and does a serious disservice to the top producing suckler cows and farmers in the country.

If the actual sale price of the calf was used rather than an average for all calves, I believe we would not be in the unhappy mess we currently find ourselves in regard to the replacement index.