Calls made for extension to BEEP weighing deadline

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has been urged to extend the deadline for submitting calf and cow weights under the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Making the calls to the minister, ICSA president Edmond Phelan said:

“We are getting a lot of calls from our members who are panicking because they cannot arrange to get the weighing done before the Friday, November 1, deadline.”

There are still in the region of 200,000 cow/calf units to be done. Getting all of these weighed and the information uploaded in a few days will prove unattainable.

The president noted that many farmers do not want to weigh weanlings until close to weaning time – which is only around now in the case of spring-born calves.

He added that, in practice, a lot of farmers do not have their own weighing scales and will have to wait until one becomes available.

“In some cases, they will avail of professional weighing services, as help is not readily available on farm,” Phelan said.

The scheme has a lot of merit and the ICSA wants to see it become a permanent scheme rather than a one-year pilot programme. The benefits to the accuracy of bull assessment is really critical and it will help improve the precision of ICBF star ratings.

“It would be a shame to allow the scheme get a negative vibe in its first year as farmers are just getting to grips with it. For those reasons, we are urging the minister to extend the deadline by a few weeks to ensure maximum benefit for those who entered the scheme,” Phelan concluded.

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