Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has reminded farmers and advisors that the deadline for submission of applications to the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP–S) and Dairy Beef pilot is April 26.
Applications for both schemes must be completed online through the agfood.ie portal.
Mr McConalogue said: “The €40m BEEP-S scheme is one of a range of measures to support sustainable suckler and beef farming, using funding I secured in Budget 2021.
There has been a strong start to the 2021 BEEP–S application process, with 12,167 applications received to date.
I would encourage any farmer that is eligible to apply to do so in time.”
The minister said BEEP–S participants may be eligible for up to €90 each for the first 10 suckler cow-calf pairs per herd, and up to €80 per pair thereafter, subject to a maximum of 100 pairs per herd, if all actions under the scheme are applied for, and completed in full in accordance with scheme terms and conditions.
BEEP-S targets the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves, by measuring the live weight of the calf at weaning as a percentage of the cow’s live weight.
In recognition of the crucial role of animal health and welfare in economic and environmental efficiency, applicants to the scheme can also select from a number of optional health and welfare measures, including meal feeding or vaccination of weanlings and/or faecal egg testing of suckler cows.
The minister also reminded farmers that the new dairy beef calf measure for 2021, which has a budget allocation of €5m in 2021, will also close on April 26, 2021.
The scheme objective is to increase the economic and environmental efficiency of beef from the dairy herd, and to facilitate further the integration of the dairy and beef sectors by providing support for farmers who rear dairy herd progeny.
The core action is weighing of eligible calves, for which there is a payment of €20 per calf, up to a maximum of 20 calves.
The minister said: “Given this is a completely new measure, the level of interest thus far has been encouraging, with 1,939 applications received to date.”
The minister concluded by reminding farmers and advisors that applications must be done online at agfood.ie before April 26, 2021, and to ensure their application is actually submitted, rather than having a status as a “draft application” on agfood.ie.
In other scheme news, the minister recently clarified the concession for BEAM participants locked up due to bovine TB during the course of the 12-month manure nitrogen reduction period.
In a Dáil response to Fianna Fáil Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill, the minister said farmers who joined BEAM agreed to reduce production of bovine livestock manure nitrogen on their holding by 5% between July 2019 and July 2020.
“I am mindful that some BEAM participants may be locked up by TB during the course of the 12-month reduction period. In that context, my department is currently writing to all BEAM participants who are locked up, advising them that their 5% reduction requirement will be reduced on a pro-rata basis relative to the number of days they were locked up.
“For example, a farmer with a 5% reduction requirement, of 257kg of bovine nitrates, was TB restricted from March 11, 2021. The 5% reduction requirement is reduced by 0.704kg for each day the herd is restricted.”
Figures available online on Agfood.ie will reflect these changes, and the revised figures will be available in monthly update letters sent to all BEAM participants.
BEAM participants have also been given the option of reducing nitrogen by 5% in the 2021 calendar year, compared with the year from July 1, 2018.
They have been given until Monday, June 21 to select this option on the agfood.ie website.
Farmers currently on track to meet the 5% nitrogen reduction target can choose to use the original reference period ending June 30 (those who fail to reach at least a 4% reduction will have their BEAM payment clawed back in full).
Farmers who select the new, later reduction period can withdraw from it if the department identifies they have met the 5% reduction in the existing reduction period (the year to June 30 next).