Funding for sucklers has to deliver a higher payment per cow than the €200/cow announced in this year's budget, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has said.

IFA livestock vice-chair Declan Hanrahan said the supports for suckler cows represents an increase in the overall funding allocated by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to the sector, but the rate of payment per cow must be revisited and substantially increased in the mid-term review.

He said the restated commitment by the Minister to honour the full payment rate for all suckler farmers in the SCEP for 2023 and to continue this in 2024 is important.

Hanrahan added that the funding commitment for the national scheme to run alongside the five-year SCEP scheme of €20m is a reduction in funding commitment for this scheme and must be increased.

Participation levels

The payment of €200/cow must be available for all cows that join both schemes and increased if necessary to reflect participation levels.

"The fiasco of this year’s National Beef Welfare Scheme must be avoided. Leakage of monies from this scheme by including unnecessary and inappropriate measures must be addressed," he said.

The IFA, he added, has consistently set out the case for a payment of €300/cow.

"This has not been provided and our campaign will continue.

"However, the critical issue for the moment is to ensure the €50/cow committed by the Minister in yesterday’s budget is paid on all cows in the scheme, with leakage kept to an absolute minimum," he said.


He added that the measures required to receive payment must be practical to implement, add value on farms and not add additional costs.

Hanrahan acknowledged the dairy beef scheme and increased funding for 2024, but highlighted the need for significantly higher supports for calf rearing and for beef-finishing farmers.

“It is disappointing the Minister has not put in place a beef sustainability payment for farmers rearing and finishing beef animals from both suckler and dairy herds.

"The Minister must come forward with additional proposals in this area to support beef farmers in contributing to our climate targets while maintaining output from the farm,” he said.

The IFA will be meeting with the Department of Agriculture in the coming days to discuss the details of the schemes for 2024.