Announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), has a funding provision of €20m in 2019 and will target the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves - measuring the live weight of the calf at weaning as a percentage of the cow's live weight.
In opening the scheme, the Minister said; “The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) – is a targeted support for suckler farmers and is specifically aimed at further improving the economic and environmental efficiency of beef production. This is done by measuring the weaning efficiency of suckler cows.
“Participating farmers will also get detailed feedback on the performance of individual animals and this will allow them to identify the most productive cows in their herd. Building on the success of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, the data collected will also be a valuable addition to Ireland's already impressive cattle breeding database.”
The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot was announced by the Government in its 2019 Budget as part of the €78m Brexit package for the agri-food industry. As well as proposed environmental and climate benefits, BEEP will provide farm gate investment at a time of market volatility and uncertainty relating to Brexit. Applications will be accepted between 4 and 22 February 2019.
The Minister said: “I am very conscious that 2018 was a very difficult year for beef farmers, in terms of weather, fodder issues and market volatility. This is the sector most exposed to Brexit, given its reliance on the UK market. The BEEP is designed to provide an injection of investment at a critical time for farmers navigating the challenges ahead, while delivering in real terms on our climate objectives”.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) urged its members to avail of the scheme but claimed it didn’t go far enough.
National livestock chairman Angus Woods said: “IFA fought a hard campaign in the last Budget and secured additional funding of €20m for sucklers and it is very important that farmers apply for the scheme. The €40 payment for sucklers is not enough and the IFA is determined to continue the campaign to get targeted payments up to €200 per cow for sucklers.”