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Beef Data and Genomics Programme to re-open


 John Joyce has about one month of grass ahead of the cattle

John Joyce has about one month of grass ahead of the cattle

John Joyce has about one month of grass ahead of the cattle

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is set to re-open to to beef suckler farmers who are not already members of the scheme.

The scheme will be known as BDGP II and will, like the original, commit to six years of payments to farmers for completion of actions aimed at delivering accelerated genetic improvement in the national herd and improvement of its environmental sustainability.

The scheme will require farmers to complete the same actions as in the original BDGP over the course of six years, starting in 2017 and concluding in 2022.  There will be a small change to the timing of the training and carbon navigator requirements.

Payments to participants will be the same as BDGP I i.e. €142.50 per hectare for the first 6.66 payable hectares under the scheme, and €120 per payable hectare after that, with the same timing requirements for returning of data in order to ensure payments can go out to as many farmers as possible in December of each scheme year.

The scheme will be open for applications from next Wednesday 19th April with a closing date of Monday 8th May 2017, and further details on the application process are available by contacting the Department’s office in Portlaoise on or 076 1064423.

Participants must complete 6 actions:

Requirement 1Calving details

Register all new born calves within 27 days of birth, provide sire number and complete survey relating to calving ease.

Requirement 2Surveys

Complete a range of surveys relating to the calves, cows and bulls in the applicant’s herd.

Requirement 3 Genotyping

Genotype all of the animals specified by the ICBF. Each year, the number to be genotyped will be equivalent to 60% of the number of reference animals on an applicant’s holding in 2014.

Requirement 4 – Replacement strategy

Stock bull – At least one stock bull on the holding on 30 June 2021 must be a bull that has been genotyped 4 or 5 star on either the Terminal or Replacement index and this, or a similar 4 or 5 star bull, must be retained on the holding until 30 June 2022.

Applicants are strongly advised to introduce 4 or 5 star bulls at the next replacement date to avoid compliance difficulties

AI –When using AI, at least 80% of the AI used must be from 4 or 5 star bulls on the Terminal or Replacement index. This applies from 30 June 2018.

Leased bulls – Where it is the practice of the applicant to lease a bull, he/she must notify the Department by 30 June 2018 of his/her intention to do so during the course of the scheme. Specific conditions apply – see T&C’s.

Female replacements – Applicants will be required to ensure that a percentage of his/her heifers/eligible Suckler cows are genotyped females that are:

(i)  4 or 5 stars on the replacement index (see T&C’s for specific conditions).

(ii)  at least 16 months old and (iii)  born in 2015 or later if not in the herd by the closing date for application.

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The number of heifers/eligible suckler cows meeting these requirements on each holding on 31 October 2020 must be equivalent to 20% of the number of the applicant’s reference animals (established based on 2014 stocking levels) and on 31 October 2022 must be equivalent to 50% of the applicant’s reference animals.

Requirement 5Carbon Navigator

Applicants must complete a carbon navigator with an approved advisor before 31 October 2017 and provide data for it to be annually updated. This is a tool which estimates the potential green house gas reductions and financial savings that could be made on each farm.

Requirement 6Training

Applicants must attend a training course relating to this scheme before 31 October 2017.

Commenting on the re-opening of the scheme Minister Creed said “the success of the BDGP scheme over the course of its first two years has led to many calls for the programme to be re-opened. Its benefits in driving both genetic improvement and sustainability of our beef farms are now well recognised.

"I have listened to these requests and examined the potential for re-opening the scheme in the context of the overall Rural Development Programme and today I am delighted to announce that the scheme will be re-opened. This is a significant investment in the suckler sector and a real vote of confidence by this Government in its future”

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