Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) suckler chair Ger O’Brien has called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to immediately open the new version of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot - Suckler (BEEP-S) scheme.

“The scheme has been promised. It is really just a matter of getting it going, so farmers can get the full benefit of the scheme.

“Time is of the essence, as farmers need to get on with weighing calves and, in some cases, farmers will be thinking of selling animals born in 2020.

“Farmers also want to weigh cattle before stock are put out on pasture.

“The process of weighing is far easier when cattle are in the sheds as opposed to when they are spread out on farms,” O’Brien said.

Money in pockets

O’Brien said the ICSA believes that the BEEP-S scheme is a very good scheme which was in line with an ICSA proposal to the Minister a number of years ago.

“This scheme puts money in the pockets of suckler farmers and they need all the help they can get,” he said.

In February, the Minister told a Donegal IFA meeting that the scheme was to open for applications in the coming weeks.

It will be the third iteration of the scheme, which targets the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves.

“I know there’s a number of farmers who calved down in the autumn who expressed concerns about whether BEEP-S would be open to them,” he said.

He advised these farmers to weigh calves coming towards their weaning date and make note of the weights and date.

He said farmers could then enter these when the scheme opens.