It is vital that everybody is facilitated in participating in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme scheme, and receives the full payment rates for all of their reference number of cows, IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden has said.

However, he said this scheme is only one part of the supports promised to suckler farmers by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, with the replacement scheme for BEEP-S still to be put in place.

Golden has demanded that the minister delivers on the €90/cow proposal.

"Minister McConalogue was widely quoted in his interviews following Budget 2023 last October, promising a further €90/cow in the BEEP-S replacement scheme.

“We must now see the minister’s proposals for this scheme and the measures within it must have the ambition to return €90/cow for all cows,” Golden said.

Suckler farms are the foundation on which our beef production system is built

A fully funded BEEP-S scheme with €90/cow, along with the SCEP scheme, has the potential to return €240/cow on the first 22 cows on suckler farms.

This, he argued, would be a critical support for the sector to help arrest the decline in suckler cow numbers and support this low-income vulnerable sector from the input cost volatility which the sector cannot absorb,” he said.

Suckler farms are the foundation on which our beef production system is built and marketed on, reaching €2.5bn in beef export value in 2022, he added.

The socio and economic contribution suckler farming makes to rural communities throughout the country, and the environmental rewards, must all be valued and protected, Golden stressed.

“The Minister for Agriculture promised suckler farmers a €90/cow scheme to replace the BEEP-S, to be paid in conjunction with the new SCEP scheme.

"He must now come forward with his proposals to deliver this to farmers as we build towards the target of €300/cow,” he concluded.