Exclusive: €40 suckler payment to be delivered by next summer
A new €40 suckler cow payment has been announced for as part of Budget 2019.

A new €40 suckler cow payment will open from early summer 2019, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has confirmed. The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme was announced on Tuesday as part of the Budget 2019. This and an additional €23m for ANCs are part of the €44m direct aid to farmers towards Brexit resilience.

The BEEP scheme will focus on improving the efficiency of the beef herd by paying farmers to weigh suckler cows and calves when the calves are between 150 and 250 days.

The overall package is €20m, enough to cover 500,000 cows. It is not specific to those in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme. However, Minister Creed said that if it is oversubscribed, selection criteria will apply.

“The objective is to get the most genomically efficient beef herd: the smallest suckler cow that will produce the biggest weanling, have adequate milk supply for that weanling, that will have the lowest carbon footprint, that will be highly fertile and calve every year,” the minister said.

“One area we don’t have sufficient data [on] is weaning efficiency – the relationship between the weight of the weanling at weaning time in relation to the weight of the cow,” Minister Creed said.

This is part of improving the overall sustainability of the agricultural industry, he said.

The IFA welcomed the move as recognition of the income crisis in the sector, but said the level of funding is disappointing. Livestock chair Angus Woods said that Minister Creed must insist all of the €40 per cow goes directly to the farmers.

A Fianna Fáil motion calling for the suckler sector to be made a priority passed through the Dáil earlier this year.

“Under sustained pressure from Fianna Fáil, the minister has been forced into a U-turn and an initial €20m enhanced fund has been provided for,” Fianna Fáil spokesperson on agriculture and food Charlie McConalogue said.

“The campaign towards a €200 suckler cow payment drives on now at full steam and the minister must not put any further roadblocks in its path,” he said.

Read more

Beef Environmental and Efficiency Pilot scheme – what you need to know

The farmer's daily wrap: M&S protest and weather warning
Catch up with all the headlines from the day and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Wet and windy conditions are forecast by Met Éireann for Saturday with the risk of severe and potentially damaging gusts during the evening.

The rain will be heavy and persistent at times, with localised surface flooding possible.

Maximum afternoon temperatures will range 7°C to 11°C degrees generally.

Strong to gale force southeasterly winds will veer west to northwest during the course of the afternoon and evening.

In the news

  • Farmers from the IFA held a protest outside Marks & Spencer in Liffey Valley on Friday over reductions on the shelf price of some vegetables and potatoes to as low as 20c/kg.
  • Met Éireann has issued yellow weather warnings for the whole country that will be in place for all 24 hours of Saturday.
  • The PSNI is seeking information to help in the recovery of 20 cattle that have been reported stolen from Armagh.
  • Co-ops have suggested a weakening of dairy markets is reflected in lower milk prices, but IFA dairy chair Tom Phelan said the signs are there to hold the price.
  • Co Down-based agri supplier and contractor Joseph Walls spread lime for a customer near Castletown, Co Meath, earlier this week.
    Watch: farmers protest over low vegetable prices in Dublin
    Farmers from the IFA held a protest outside Marks & Spencer in Liffey Valley on Friday over reductions on the shelf price of some vegetables and potatoes to as low as 20c/kg.

    Potato and vegetable growers held a protest outside Marks and Spencer in Liffey Valley, Dublin, on Friday over the below-cost selling of Irish produce.

    Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, IFA potato chair Thomas McKeown said that Marks & Spencer was selling 2kg of potatoes at 39c.

    "This works out at €180/t. The costs we've had all year between the drought, the wet spring at the start and yields - yields are way back.

    "In fairness, supermarkets during the year helped during the drought, but this has started up now pre-Christmas.

    "There's absolutely no need for it. Veering away from potatoes, there's Brussels sprouts in there [M&S] - €3.00 for Spanish sprouts and 39c for Irish ones - that's wrong."

    For more on the protest, pick up next week's Irish Farmers Journal.

    Read more

    IFA protests outside M&S store over 'predatory pricing model'

    Retailers warned against Christmas food discounting

    Weather warning: up to 50mm of rain expected tomorrow
    Met Éireann has issued two weather warnings for Saturday 15 December.

    Unsettled weather is to bring rainfall of 30mm to 50mm across the country on Saturday 15 December.

    Met Éireann issued a yellow weather warning for the whole country that will be in place for all 24 hours of Saturday.

    It is predicting that heavy rain could see rainfalls in excess of 50mm in some mountainous areas.

    Wind warning

    A yellow wind warning has also been issued, as gusts of up to 110km/h are likely for Saturday afternoon.

    The warning is in place for all of the country, as south to southeast winds reach 55km/h to 60km/h on Saturday morning.

    The winds will be strongest in the east and will veer west to northwest into the afternoon and evening.

    They will further increase to reach speeds of 55km/h to 65km/h.

    Gusts associated with these winds will range from 90km/h to 110km/h.