Farmers participating in the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) who have not already opted to select the option of deferring the 5% reduction period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 to the new period of 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021 only have until Monday 21 June to do so.

The Department of Agriculture is advising anyone who has any doubt they will not meet the original reduction timeframe to opt for the deferral period.

If a herd ends up complying with the reduction year, then this will satisfy the scheme target and participants will be free to make their own decisions on their stocking rate.

Gaining access

Once you have logged into your account, the BEAM portal can be accessed by clicking on the heading “Exceptional Aid Measures” on the homepage.

On the next screen, click on the tab in the top left corner, “Schemes to enter”, and on the following page select the option “Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM)”, which will be located in the centre of the screen.

This will bring you through to the scheme homepage.

Scroll down, and on the left-hand side there is a white circle under the heading “Select”.

The next portal has been updated recently and will differ depending on whether or not farmers have opted to click the “Defer 5% Nitrates Reduction tab”.

If this has not been clicked, then the options available include “View application”, “Nitrates Report”, “Nitrates Calculator” and the defer button, which can be used to change the reduction year from the original of 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 to the new period of 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.

If the option has already been selected to defer the reduction period, then the first three options above will be available, as well as three comparable windows to cover the deferral period.

Nitrates report

On opening the nitrates report, the first information that will greet you is the reference nitrates figures applicable to your application including the reference value for your herd or the level of nitrogen produced in the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.

This is followed by the maximum level of organic nitrogen a holding can produce in the original reduction year timeline of 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 and the minimum reduction figure required to comply with the scheme.

The next section outlines the level of bovine organic nitrogen produced from 1 July 2020 to 30 April 2021 and the remaining allowance that can be used for the period 1 May 2021 to 30 June 2021 and still remain within the limits.

There is also a projection figure of what level of organic nitrogen will be produced in May and June 2021.

It should be highlighted at this stage that the figure relating to remaining level of organic nitrogen that is likely to be produced in May and June is based on stock numbers in your herd on 30 April.

It accounts for animals changing in age brackets but does not account for any animals that have moved in to or out of the herd since 1 May.

Nitrates calculator

These figures feed directly into the calculator, which has now been updated up until the end of April and will continue to be updated as more information comes on stream.

The calculator is completed by filling in the proposed livestock numbers for each of the months May 2021 and June 2021 followed by clicking the button “Generate Nitrates Estimate”.

This will then tell you the current position of your farm.

Remember when inputting cattle figures to take account of animals changing in age and as such falling into different categories of nitrates output and to use the average figure for the number of animals that are likely to be present in a category in any particular month.

A useful aid for completing this task is to download a copy of your herd profile at the outset under the Animal Identification and Movement heading on the homepage.