The proposed Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme is an extension and combination of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) and the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP).
Payment rates have not been set out, nor has the total sum of money allocated to it.
There is some confusion regarding whether or not the scheme will place a cap on suckler cow numbers.
Farmers will be keen to receive clarity on whether this refers to an absolute cap on cow numbers or refers only to the upper payment rate
The document says payment rates will be based on a historical reference year which will also set the upper number of animals on which payment can be received.
It also states that “the scheme will prevent a participant increasing their suckler cow numbers over the course of the contract”, apart from exceptional cases.
Farmers will be keen to receive clarity on whether this refers to an absolute cap on cow numbers or refers only to the upper payment rate.
The scheme will consist of two measures running parallel to each other.
Measure A is open to farmers who took part in BDGP on 1 June 2021, while measure B will be open to those who were not previously in BDGP or, if they were, had left by 1 June 2021.
Participants will have to complete four mandatory actions in each year of the scheme. The proposed actions include ensuring a replacement strategy is in place, genotyping, weighing and data recording.
It is also proposed that farmers can opt to select two complementary actions – forage quality and faecal egg testing.
All applicants will also be required to attend a half-day livestock handling course.
Meanwhile, a new measure offering support to groups of producers wishing to be recognised as producer organisations (POs) is proposed for the beef and sheep sectors and is being considered for others.
The POs must be set up and led by producers, be registered as a legal entity and have a minimum of 20 members.