In the coming weeks, most suckler farmers will be need to be aware of some key actions and dates in relation to guaranteeing this year’s BEEP-S payment.

BEEP-S has become a substantial part of the farm support package on drystock farms.

The full BEEP-S payment is worth €90 on the first 10 cow/calf units and €80/cow/calf unit on the next 90 cows. This is broken into €50/pair for the first 10 weighings with €40/pair for the next 90 cow/calf weighings.

It’s very important that scales are registered on the ICBF system before weighing takes place. There are a number of different options when it comes to weighing.

Farmers can use their own scales, hire a scales from a local co-op or mart or use a weighing contractor. All weights must be submitted to ICBF within seven days of weighing taking place.

Optional action one, which is either meal feeding or vaccination, is paid at €30/pair up to 100 cows, while optional action two (faecal sampling) is paid at €10/pair up to 100 cows.

On a herd of 30 suckler cows, the BEEP-S is worth €2,500. It’s important that key actions are completed within the required timeframe in the next few weeks.

Some of these factors for some people will include pneumonia vaccination and for others it may include weaning and feeding concentrates prior to selling the weanlings.

Meal feeding needs to commence four weeks prior to weaning and continue for two weeks after weaning. Meal feeding is to ease the weaning process and reduce stress levels around weaning time and try to minimise any outbreaks of disease such as pneumonia.

Creep rations are costing €450/t to €480/t this year, so it’s important that good value is obtained from purchased meal. Trough feeding in an adjacent field is best and will make sure all calves are consuming equal amounts or ration.

Table 1 outlines some example dates and timelines in order to be compliant with the scheme.

The Department of Agriculture does not require notification of meal feeding. However, if you have an inspection you will be asked to provide meal dockets to show proof of purchase of meal during the required time.

If the vaccination option is chosen you need to consult with your vet as to what option suits your farm. You can choose between a one- or two-shot programme depending on what strains of pneumonia you are vaccinating for.

Faecal sampling

Faecal sampling must be completed before 1 October with one sample being taken for every 10 cows in the herd. It’s really important that sample kits are ordered in time to ensure samples can be processed by the lab and results loaded with the Department of Agriculture.

A number of farmers who left faecal sampling until the last minute in 2021 were unable to get a laboratory to analyse the results. This resulted in 20% of farmers who applied for this option not getting full payment on their BEEP-S application.

Payments will issue in December 2022 once all actions have been completed.