The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) beef indices row has escalated this week, with pedigree breeders “livid” over pedigree stock bull eligibility for the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP).

Pedigree bulls that were eligible for SCEP last autumn are currently locked out of the scheme as a result of the November changes.

There has been no communication or clarification on the issue from the ICBF or the Department of Agriculture on the stock bull issue since 22 February, when the last beef stakeholder meeting took place.

Irish Charolais Cattle Society secretary Nevin McKiernan told the Irish Farmers Journal that he is absolutely livid at the way pedigree breeders are being treated.

“[The] ICBF has lost all respect for us and I’m not sure what role they see for us in the future. Their current plan is to kick the current issues as far down the road as possible and try to bury it all.

“To think that they are currently planning the next stakeholders meeting 12 weeks away is a disgrace. What they are doing with the cow weights isn’t right and I think it’s time now to say stop or we will decimate a lot of the breeds as we know them,” he warned.


Commenting on the current impasse, secretary of the Pedigree Breeders Council Laurie Harney said the council is concerned at the lack of any meaningful communication.

“The communication with ICBF was highlighted as a problem months ago and we were told it was going to improve by ICBF CEO Seán Coughlan, but it has actually disimproved.

“At the stakeholders forum on 22 February, it appeared that good progress was being made around concerns raised by pedigree breed societies, outlining difficulties with both pedigree and commercial cattle breeding indices.

“The pedigree breed societies form a large proportion of the stakeholders at the forum, so their concerns should be listened to. We are now calling on an immediate reconvening of the stakeholders forum, because to-date the process has not been successful,” he said.