Farmers who have one or more herd number linked to their Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) application must include all of their cattle under all herd numbers in the nitrates figures for the farm, the Department of Agriculture has said.

Last week, 1,000 farmers were sent letters by the Department notifying them that all herd numbers are deemed to be part of the farm holding.

Where a BEAM farmer has, during the period concerned, had one or more associated herd numbers linked to their BEAM application herd number on the Department’s corporate customer system (CCS), these herd numbers are deemed to be part of the participant’s holding, a Department spokesperson said.

“As part of that holding, they must be included in the calculation of the BEAM figures and any bovine animals registered to them during the BEAM reference period or the BEAM reduction period will be included in the nitrates figures for the holding.

“Animals moved from the application herd number to an associated herd number will not reduce the bovine nitrates figure for the holding for the purposes of BEAM.”

‘Changed the goalposts’

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said the letters have “completely changed the goal posts for these farmers” adding that it is unacceptable at this late stage in the scheme.