Creed launches new €20m Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot scheme as part of Agri-Food Brexit Package

30 January 2019


The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced the launch of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), with a funding provision of €20m in 2019.  BEEP 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 opening the scheme, the Minister said; “The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) – is a targeted support for suckler farmers and is specifically aimed at further improving the economic and environmental efficiency of beef production.  This is done by measuring the weaning efficiency of suckler cows. Participating farmers will also get detailed feedback on the performance of individual animals and this will allow them to identify the most productive cows in their herd. Building on the success of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, the data collected will also be a valuable addition to Ireland's already impressive cattle breeding database.

Breeding improvement through the Economic Breeding Index is identifying the most efficient animals for grass based production system”.

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot was announced in Budget 2019 as part of the €78m Brexit package for the agri-food industry. As well as clear environmental and climate benefits, the BEEP will provide farm gate investment at a time of market volatility and uncertainty relating to Brexit. The Minister said; “I am very conscious that 2018 was a very difficult year for beef farmers, in terms of weather, fodder issues and market volatility. This is the sector most exposed to Brexit, given its reliance on the UK market.  The BEEP is designed to provide an injection of investment at a critical time for farmers navigating the challenges ahead, while delivering in real terms on our climate objectives”. 

Added 30.01.2019

Notes for editor

How does efficient weaning benefit the environment?

  • The weaning efficiency of a suckler cow is the live weight of her calf at weaning as a percentage of her own live weight.
  • Cows that produce heavier calves at weaning as a proportion of their own live weight typically have a lower emissions intensity of production than cows who produce lighter calves at weaning as a proportion of their live weight. This is based on the cow’s own emissions and that of her progeny who will be slaughtered at heavier weights at a younger age.
  • This pilot will allow farmers to identify these cows in their own herds.

Who can apply for the pilot?

This is a pilot Exchequer funded scheme that is aimed at further improving performance and efficiency in the beef suckler herd.

Application will be open to all beef suckler herdowners.  Details on how to obtain the application form are available here.

Applications will be accepted between 4 and 22 February 2019.

How will it work?

Farmers will apply to the Department to participate.  They will then weigh their animals as outlined in the terms and conditions (found here) by either using the scales rental model  (subject to rental T&Cs) which has been put in place or by using privately owned scales which have been registered with ICBF for the purposes of the pilot.  The weight records will be submitted to ICBF. The submission of data will be confirmed to DAFM by ICBF and payments will be made to approved applicants in December 2019.  It is important to note that as this is a one year, exchequer funded pilot, all payments must be made in 2019 and therefore the timelines outlined in the terms and conditions must be strictly adhered to.

How much will be paid?

The €20 million funding available will allow for payment equivalent of up to a maximum of €40 per calf, based on costs incurred and income foregone. If the scheme is oversubscribed a linear cut may be applied.

It is a pilot scheme for 2019 only, Exchequer funded and operated under State Aid de minimis provisions.

For additional information please click here.

 ENDS

Date Released: 30 January 2019

Original Press Release, click here