The Department of Agriculture has announced that farmers can now apply for this year’s Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP), with €40m available in the BEEP- Sucklers (BEEP-S) and a further €5m allocated to the Dairy-Beef Calf measure.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue opened the two scheme measures to online applications on Wednesday, stating that farmers have until Monday 25 April to apply.

“As part of Budget 2022, I secured these two crucial schemes to ensure that our farm families can be rewarded for their hard work in driving important efficiency gains within our world-class beef sector.

"A key focus of mine as Minister is supporting efficient suckler and beef farming,” commented Minister McConalogue on opening the scheme.

Suckler scheme

The Minister said that the BEEP-S suckler scheme had proved to be “farmer-friendly” in previous tranches, as optional health and welfare measures complement the compulsory weighing measure of the scheme.

Farmers can receive €90 for the first 10 eligible suckler cow-calf pairs and a further €80 per eligible pair up to a maximum of 100 cow-calf units.

“The 2022 BEEP-S scheme builds on the success of the scheme last year, with approximately 30,000 participants,” Minister McConalogue added.

“BEEP-S has proven to be a farmer-friendly scheme that provides an important income support, as well as driving further genetic improvements in the sector,” he said.

Vaccination of weanlings, meal feeding and faecal egg sampling of cows are the additional measures farmers can select from to complement the core weighing measure central to the scheme.

Dairy-beef calf scheme

The Dairy-Beef Calf measure of BEEP will see farmers paid €20 per eligible calf weighed, up to a maximum of 40 calves.

The scheme was piloted in 2021, when farmers received the same per-calf funding up to a maximum of 20 dairy-beef calves.

Those applying for either of the BEEP schemes must complete a new application, as farmers will not be rolled over as had been the case with other schemes, such as the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

The Minister reminded farmers and advisers to be aware that applications had to be fully completed through rather than being just left in the ‘draft application’ status.

IFA encouragement

Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) livestock chair Brendan Golden encouraged farmers to avail of funding under the BEEP scheme, before calling on the Minister to give a "clear commitment" that suckler supports would be continued into the future.

“Today’s announcement by the Department is an important support for suckler farmers. €40m will be made available in 2022,” said Golden.

“Suckler farmers are the backbone of our beef industry and [the] IFA continues to look for strong supports for them.

“Minister McConalogue has to give a clear commitment that supports will continue,” he said.