27% of applications to Genomics Scheme from farmers with less than 10 cows

Some 27% of applications to the recently launched Beef Data and Genomics Programme have come from farmers with herds of 10 cows or less, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Speaking in the Dail this week, he said some 7,851 herds with 10 suckler cows or less have applied for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme.

This, the Minister said equates to 27% of the total number of applications received for the scheme, which is broadly proportionate to the level of participation in last year’s suckler welfare scheme and the beef genomics scheme last year.

According to the most up-to-date figures available from the Department’s animal identification and movement system, the total number of herds that have 10 or less beef-breed female cows on their holding is 38,171 and this represents 52% of all herds with female beef-breed cows.

The Minister said that there is a cohort of farmers within these figures who, for various reasons, do not engage with schemes for the suckler herd where additional defined action is required on their part, such as was the case under the suckler cow welfare scheme and for the pilot beef genomics scheme last year.

“The reasons include the part-time nature of many of these farmers who keep less than 10 cows, or the fact that suckler farming is not their main farm enterprise,” he said.

The Minister said when looking at the profile of applicants under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, BDGP, or similar schemes, the relevant comparator is the profile of participants in previous schemes, such as the suckler cow welfare scheme and the 2014 beef genomics scheme.

“In that regard, I am satisfied that the profile of applicants under the new beef data and genomics scheme compares favourably with previous schemes for the suckler sector operated by my Department over the last decade or so,” he said.

In terms of applications to the scheme, the Minister said the figure is 34% for farmers with between 11 and 20 animals; 19% for those with between 21 and 30 animals; 10% for those with between 30 and 40 animals; 5% for those with between 40 and 50 animals; and less than 2.5% for those with between 50 and 60 animals.

He noted that the biggest cohort, therefore, comprises those with between 10 and 20 animals. The second biggest by far comprises those with fewer than 10.