The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme, which offers farmers a €40 payment per calf for weighing suckler calves and their dams, opened today for applications.
In Budget 2019, the Government made €20m in Exchequer funding available to the one-year pilot to incentivise farmers to weigh suckler cows and calves.
The stated intention of the scheme is to “further increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd through better quality data on herd performance, supporting decision making on farm”.
Farmers have until 22 February to apply for the scheme. The current available funding allows for payments across 500,000 beef-bred calves.
In the event the scheme is oversubscribed, payments could be reduced.
For a calf to be eligible for payment, it must be born between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.
The calf’s dam and sire must also be a beef breed.
Farmers are required to weigh both the cow and the unweaned calf on the same day and submit the weights to the ICBF within seven days.
These weights will be used to calculate a weaning efficiency figure.
Weights can be submitted from 8 March until 1 November, with payments scheduled for December 2019.
The pilot scheme has received mixed reaction.
The IFA encouraged suckler farmers to apply for the scheme and to draw down the payment.
IFA livestock chair Angus Woods said the €40 payment was not sufficient and that the IFA would continue to campaign for targeted payments up to €200 per cow for sucklers.
ICSA suckler chair John Halley welcomed the scheme, but said the money on offer would not be enough to save sucklers.
He called for an €80 payment per calved heifer in the suckler herd, provided that they calve before 30 months.
Scales used for BEEP must be pre-registered
BEEP to be paid on all beef-bred calves