Reaction: What do these farmers think of the €100/head Beef Finishers Payment?

As announced on Wednesday, August 5, the Covid-19 related compensation package – the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP) – will consist of a €100/head payment for animals that were slaughtered from February 1 to June 12, 2020.

All animals that were over eight months-of-age are eligible for the payment – up to a maximum of 100 animals – bringing the total claimable amount to €10,000.

It is said that some 42,000 farmers will be able to apply for the payment.

Also Read: Details of €50 million Beef Finishers Payment revealed

With the details of the scheme now in the public domain, AgriLand spoke to some beef finishers about the payment which is expected to be paid out later this year.

Paul Molihan, Ardagh, Co. Longford

Farming in Ardagh, Co. Longford, Pat and Paul Molihan – a father-and-son team – operate a suckler-to-beef enterprise.

All offspring are brought to slaughter. They also buy in and finish weanlings and forward stores. In addition to beef finishing, they run a flock of ewes.

We killed cattle throughout the crisis and they would have come into what we paid for them, but when you add up the meal bill, I don’t think we even got the price of meal back; they definitely lost money. 

From February 1, we would have slaughtered somewhere in the region of 40 cattle, so it will be a massive help to us here on the farm; the €100/head payment is a great help. 

I say fair play to the government, it is really stepping up to the mark, because all the cattle that were killed here lost money during that time. 

I now hope the government pushes on and tries to get the potential beef-processing facility in Banagher, Co. Offaly, over the line – that’s a win for beef farmers.

It could add competition when it comes to selling cattle and has the potential to open up new markets for Irish beef.

Aidan Maguire, Navan, Co. Meath

Located in Antylstown, Navan, Co. Meath, Aidan Maguire runs a dairy calf-to-beef enterprise on the holding in conjunction with a contracting business.

Originally operating a calf-to-store system, the Meath man made the switch to beef finishing in recent years – slaughtering Friesian, Angus and Hereford steers and heifers.

Looking at the dates to qualify, it looks like just under 50% of the cattle I have killed this year will qualify for the payment; everything is a help in this day and age. 

It’s great to qualify for some supports as I didn’t qualify the last time round. The best thing about this payment is that there are no strings attached or no small print; it is an actual help this time round. 

Thomas O’Connor, Moone, Co. Kildare

Farming in Moone, Co. Kildare, Thomas O’Connor and his parents – Monica and Tom – run a mixed farming operation, involving four different enterprises.

On the beef side, a suckler-to-beef system is implemented will all progeny finished on the farm. Additionally, Thomas purchases bulls and heifers bringing them through to beef also.

The payment is more than welcome. Farmers that killed bulls last February got €3.80/kg and went back to the factory two weeks later and got €3.40/kg – losing €160-170/head, while the cost of production stayed the same. 

The €100/head might give us some confidence to go back to the mart ring in the autumn. With no extra terms or conditions, there should be full uptake.