‘Grace period’ for BDGP deadlines needed after mart disruption – IFA

Following on from the disruption to mart services on Saturday (October 27), there are calls now for flexibility on the deadlines for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).

Brendan Golden, the national livestock chairperson of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to provide farmers with a grace period to meet the 50% female replacement requirement for 4- or 5- star female animals on the holding by next Saturday (October 31).

Golden’s comments follow technical issues in several marts at the weekend with their online sales systems, which saw some sales cancelled and animals sent back to farm.

While the majority of farmers have met their requirements, Golden stressed that there are still some who are yet to meet the target.

“This has been severely disrupted with the move to Level 5 controls and the difficulties experienced by some marts in holding sales. Due to poor broadband services in areas, some farmers have been unable to participate in sales,” Golden highlighted.

Golden also took the opportunity to remind farmers of the November 1 date for the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot – Sucklers (BEEP-S) scheme, by which the weighing component and the faecal egg count component – if opted for – must be completed.

The IFA had previously called for flexibility on both the BDGP and BEEP-S dates, saying some farmers were concerned about attending marts or having service providers on their farms.

“It’s important payments are issued on time to all those meeting the requirements, but for farmers who are unable to do so, the department must provide a period of grace taking into account the unique situation that farmers have had to deal with this year,” the IFA national livestock chair concluded.