Creed: Grants of up to €8,000 available for farmers in BEEP-S

Farmers and their advisors have been reminded that the online application process for both the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Suckler (BEEP-S) for 2020 and the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is open until Friday, May 15.

Suckler farmers should ensure that they apply for the BEEP-S programme in time so as to ensure that they get the full benefits of this new programme.

So far, over 5,400 farmers have already applied for BEEP-S. Separately all farmers are reminded to apply online for the 2020 BPS which is the largest direct payment scheme paid to Irish farmers every year.

Applications received for BPS are significantly ahead of previous years, with 50,800 applications submitted so far, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

BEEP-S, which has a funding provision of €35 million in 2020, will target the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves – measuring the live weight of the calf at weaning as a percentage of the cow’s live weight.

In recognition of the important role of animal health and welfare in economic and environmental efficiency, participants in the programme will also be encouraged to implement a number of optional health and welfare measures.

If participants take on the additional measures along with the weight recording measure, they will be eligible for a payment of up to €90 for the first ten suckler cow/calf pairs per herd, and up to €80 per pair thereafter, subject to an overall maximum of 100 pairs per herd.

BEEP-S programme actions are as follows:
  1. Mandatory weighing action: €50 per first 10 cow/calf weighings per herd (and €40 per cow/calf weighing thereafter), This action measures the ratio of calf weight at weaning to maternal weight, enabling farmers to readily identify their most economic and environmentally efficient suckler cows in their herd;
  2. Optional action: €30 for an additional welfare action, with a choice of either a vaccination programme or a pre-weaning meal feeding programme. This action will improve the health and welfare of suckler calves at weaning time; and
  3. Optional action: €10 for a further option – participation in a faecal egg testing programme. This action is targeted at the control of liver and rumen fluke in adult suckler cows, improving animal health and welfare.

A suckler herd of 20 can avail of up to €1,700 for full participation in the options available while a herd of 40 can avail of up to €3,300.

The maximum payment is for 100 cow/calf pairs with a total payment of €8,100 based on participation in the options available, the department says.

Commenting, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed stated:

“It is more important now than ever before for suckler farmers to take full advantage of these new financial supports.

“This programme builds on the success of the 2019 BEEP pilot and is another support measure aimed at helping beef farmers.

The programme aims to increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd though improvement in the quantity and quality of performance data collected, with a view to supporting the adoption of best practice and more informed decision making at farm level.

“The more farmers that participate, the more high quality data we receive which in turn will help drive greater efficiency in beef production,” the minister said.