The Beef Plan Movement (BPM) wants the government to allow full rollover relief for the purposes of farmer investment in anaerobic digestion (AD) and micro-power generation.

Most of the zoned land in Ireland belongs to farmers,” said BPM’s Eamon Corley.

“In cases where farmers have sold land for development, rather than going out to buy more farm land, they should have the option of investing in anaerobic digestion and microgeneration on the basis that such developments are eligible for full rollover relief.

“Alternatively, government must fully support the production of biogas and electricity on farms, courtesy of competitive grant schemes.”

Beef Plan Movement pre-budget submission

These were among the main recommendations made by BPM to finance minister Paschal Donohoe, as part of the organisation’s Budget 2022 submission.

Corley continued: “There are approximately 4,000 anaerobic digestion plants now operating in Germany. Recent years have also seen significant investment in anaerobic digestion throughout Northern Ireland.

“The scope to facilitate investments of this nature in the Republic of Ireland is immense. Agriculture can meet the growing energy needs of Ireland in a very sustainable manner.

“But government must do its part by facilitating the investment that will be required to make it happen,” he added.

Anaeorbic digestion

According to Corley, there is scope to establish up to six anaerobic digestion plants per county. In Northern Ireland, it has been the practice to develop 500kw anaerobic digestion plants.

The feed stock for these systems comprises a mix of grass silage, wholecrop, forage maize, slurry and poultry litter. Up to now the investment required to establish a system of this size would have been in the region of €1 million.

However, this figure may well have increased in light of the recent hike in the cost of all building materials and relevant construction-related inputs.

Subsidy for sucklers

BPM is also calling on government to introduce a €300 suckler cow subsidy.

Corley continued: “Government is more likely to agree a payment on the suckled calf. But the principle remains the same – Irish suckler farmers need a significant boost in support.”

Corley believes that additional money for suckling will come courtesy of both the budget and the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) arrangements.

“There will always be limitations on CAP finances. But the government will have to make national funding available for the suckler sector. This is why we have specifically highlighted the issue in our budget submission,” Corley concluded.