The rate of submission of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications is intensifying, with 76,265 applications, or 58.7% of those eligible to apply, submitting an application by close of business on Tuesday evening. This is broadly in line with recent years, with the rate of submission of applications jumping in the final two-to-three-week period.

This year’s later closing date of 17 May, to prevent the normal closing date falling on the weekend, means farmers and advisers have three weekends left to submit applications.

The bank holiday weekend in May would generally be a timeframe when a high volume of applications are finalised. Advisers will also be contending with REAP applications this year, with the timeframe to submit applications approaching faster, with the deadline set for 10 May.

Meanwhile, there were 27,058 applications received for the Beef Environment Efficiency Pilot-Sucklers (BEEP-S) by the closing date of midnight on Monday 26 April.

Farmers can receive a payment of €90 per cow-calf unit on the first 10 pairs in their herd, based on calves born from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021

The scheme was opened for applications on 16 March 2021 and the number of applications received is on par with the figure of 27,088 applications in 2020.

This means the €40m in funding allocated should be sufficient to cater for all applications, without the need to reduce payment levels. There was a total of €41m paid to 24,549 applicants in 2020.

Farmers can receive a payment of €90 per cow-calf unit on the first 10 pairs in their herd, based on calves born from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 and €80 per unit thereafter, up to a maximum of 100 cow-calf pairs. Within this, there is a payment of €40/€50 for weighing on the cow and calf, €30 for meal feeding calves pre- and post-weaning or implementing a vaccination programme, and €10 for carrying out faecal egg sampling for liver and rumen fluke.

While the main deadline has passed, the terms and conditions allow for late applications. This consists of a 25-day calendar period for the acceptance of late applications, with these subject to a 1% deduction for each day the application is late. The final date these applications will be accepted is 21 May 2021.

The following table details a breakdown of applications per county, and as expected, the suckler strongholds in Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Roscommon dominate the number of applications submitted.

The table also details a breakdown per county of applications submitted under the new Dairy Beef Pilot programme. The total number of applications received was 8,185, with the pilot programme also operating in the same timeline for applications as BEEP-S.

The programme offers a payment of €20 per eligible calf weighed, with a maximum payment of 20 calves or €400 per herd. If each herd who submitted an application draws down the maximum payment, the total funding required will be in the region of €3.27m, well below the €5m allocated to the pilot programme for 2021.

As detailed in the table on the right, Cork had by far the most applications, which is not surprising given the size of its dairy herd.