Eco schemes and environmental measures will likely see more areas of farms taken out of production and re-assigned to nature.
Farmers won’t be paid any extra to do this, but rather will need to adopt some of these measures to hold on to what they have.
This probably won’t be an issue for many farms in the west or part-time operations.
However, it will put huge pressure on full-time beef farmers on good land. These farmers will face tough decisions in the next few years.
The suckler cow will be banished to the west of the Shannon and left to graze what she can find on marginal hillsides.
Anything less than DNA verification at birth will do little for farmers finishing dairy beef animals
The clear path set out in the strategy document is we want less – grow less grass, keep less cattle. However, all of Teagasc’s beef research points to output and stocking rate as key drivers of profit.
The Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme essentially merges BDGP and BEEP and will be a welcome inclusion for suckler farmers. While it’s natural to build on the success of these programmes, the strategy fails to go to the next level.
Farmers have spent decades excluding these areas and getting fined for claiming on them in cases
Anything less than DNA verification at birth will do little for farmers finishing dairy beef animals. An incentivised scheme to reduce slaughter age could have a positive effect on profitability and reducing GHG emissions from the national herd.
The fact that up to 30% of parcels could be claimed on as habitats under the BPS is a game changer for many western farms.
Farmers have spent decades excluding these areas and getting fined for claiming on them in cases. Releasing an extra 55,000ha to claim on could take some heat out of the land rental market.