BDGP: ‘Farmers are maybe losing €200 on the sale price of their weanling to get €80’

While suckler farmers must welcome payments under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), they must take stock of what they may be losing on the sale price of a weanling, according to Peadar Glennon from the Irish Simmental Cattle Society.

Glennon was speaking at a meeting in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, on Thursday, July 26, which was focused on concerns breeders and farmers have regarding the BDGP scheme.

Organised by Shane Ellis, who will contest the next general election as a Fianna Fail candidate, the meeting was attended by a number of farmers and representatives from the breed societies and farm organisations. Fianna Fail’s agriculture spokesperson, deputy Charlie McConalogue, was also in attendance.

Speaking at the meeting, Glennon said: “We have to welcome the money that the BDGP scheme has brought into farming.

Unfortunately, from where I see it, people are maybe losing €200 on the sale price of their weanling to get €80.

“That to me is the big crunch of where the system is wrong and it has to be addressed. We can all knock the BDGP scheme; it has got good merits, but – certainly – there’s a lot wrong with it,” he said.

€200 per suckler cow payment

Addressing the meeting, Ellis explained that Fianna Fail is committed to fighting for a payment of €200 per suckler cow to be introduced for the first 20 cows in order to support the suckler sector.

Commenting on the current progress of the BDGP scheme, he added: “If we start going down this road, all we will end up with is plain cattle that no one wants – and that is what’s happening.

We need to have cattle that are from quality; quality always sold our cattle across Britain, across Europe and across the world.

“If we want to keep breeding quality cattle, we have to change the way the suckler system is set up,” he said.

Marketing of suckler beef

Meanwhile, the president of the Irish Charolais Cattle Society – Kevin Maguire – believes it is imperative that the way Irish suckler beef is marketed improves significantly.

“It’s high time that the organisations that are supposed to be representing suckler farmers in the west of Ireland stood up and demanded that suckler beef be marketed in a different way to the dairy beef that is being produced here in Ireland.

We want the €200 for the short term, but it’s the way that this beef is going to be marketed – that’s what’s going to bring up the price of weanlings in the west of Ireland.

€1,400 or €1,500 apiece should be common for a good-quality weanling,” Maguire told the meeting.

Review of the BDGP scheme

Furthermore, calls were made by Michael Oliver – a representative from the Irish Limousin Cattle Society – for the star system to be scrapped and for breeders to continue using the indexes.

He also called for a full review of the BDGP scheme to be carried out.

Speaking at the meeting, he said: “The point that we should take from here tonight is that almost the entire country has sufficient numbers of four and five-star females for the scheme.

We should put a message out there for everybody to focus on using a terminal sire now. If you use a terminal sire, you will have a better quality weanling to sell and if you have an average of €100 extra per weanling going into your pocket – you will recoup something.

Bringing the meeting to an end, Ellis stressed the point that the sector must come together under the “one hymn sheet” in order to make meaningful changes.