Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue was asked if he would advocate making beehives a livestock unit under the new CAP by Kildare South TD Patricia Ryan last week.

He responded that the Department does not currently administer any coupled support schemes for farmers based on livestock units and that minimum livestock units were used in schemes such as ANC to prevent land abandonment and to carry out extensive grazing.

“Substituting beehives for livestock unit in this instance would thus run counter to the design of the scheme in this regard,” he said, while acknowledging the contribution bees make to agriculture and biodiversity.

It’s worth noting that in some EU countries, rabbits and ostriches are considered livestock units.