An SMS text will issue to a cohort of participants in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) on Friday 24 November advising them of a further extension to the female replacement strategy until 22 January 2024.

The original date for participants to satisfy the 50% female replacement requirement was 31 October 2023.

This was subsequently extended to 24 November, as some scheme participants who had submitted their samples in advance of 31 October 2023 did not have their results back before that date and, as such, did not allow any notice for eligible four- and five-star females to be purchased, if required.

The Department of Agriculture explains that the extension to 24 November 2023 allowed some more SCEP participants to get their results back, but that there is still farmers awaiting results.

As a result the Department is now advising the relevant cohort of SCEP participants of the 22 January 2024 extension. It is worth noting that this is also the extended deadline for farmers who applied to the Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme by 16 October 2023 but who were not certified before this date.

Replacement target

The female replacement requirement is as follows - applicants are required to ensure that at least 50% of the herd’s yearly reference number are eligible females that are genotyped four or five stars on the replacement index (on a within breed or across breed basis) at the time of purchase (for replacements brought into the herd) or at the time of genotyping (for those replacements bred within the herd).

Note - participants availing of this extension must have the full requirement of eligible females in their herd on 31 October 2023 or 24 November 2023 or 22 January 2024; ie, they cannot use an aggregate count of these dates. A letter will issue to impacted herds over the coming days.

SCEP penalty

The Department advises any SCEP participant who has not met the requirement in time for the SCEP payments in mid-December 2023 will not be paid for this action then and will receive a 10% penalty on the value of the action.

The female replacement requirement represents 20% of the value of a farmers SCEP payment.

A Department information note states: “So, if your SCEP payment is €3,000 and you have not met the female replacement requirement, you will not be paid the €600 (20% of €3,000) and there will be a further penalty of €60 (10% of the €600). This example is based on all other actions being met and before the deduction for the cost of genomics.

“However, should the participant who gets this further extension, subsequently be deemed compliant with the female replacement strategy requirement on 22 January 2024, they will receive the payment for Action 2 (€600 in example above) and be refunded the penalty applied to non-compliance with Action 2 (€60 in the example above). This payment will be made by way of a supplementary payment.”

Trait data

It is timely to also remind SCEP participants that to unlock maximum payments in December, record keeping and event recording, which accounts for 20% of the overall payment, must also be completed by the end of November.

As detailed in recent weeks, data can be submitted until 15 February 2024, but delaying submission beyond the end of November may delay payment for this action and also incur a 10% penalty.

This will be reimbursed provided data is submitted by 15 February 2024. Read more here.

The final date for returning genomic samples is 30 November 2023. Any farmer requiring assistance should contact the ICBF immediately on 023-882 0222.