'BEEP scheme won't be bureaucratic'- Minister Creed

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said he doesn’t envisage that there will be bureaucratic issues in relation to farm inspections and procurement of scales which will be part of the new BEEP scheme (Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot).

Minister Creed launched the BEEP scheme this week which has set aside €20 million to 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.

Farmers who take part in the scheme will be inspected to ensure data submitted as part of the scheme is accurate.

Minister Creed said that he doesn’t imagine the scheme will be bureaucratic in terms of procuring scales or farm inspections and estimates that the uptake will resemble the amount of farmers in the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme.

“There will be correlation with the BDGP but it is not confined to farmers in the BDGP. It’s open to all suckler farmers,” he said.

“We have designed the scheme to make it as user friendly as possible. We will have a wide network of availability of the scales. The purpose and design of scheme is on making it as user friendly and making sure the overwhelming majority of funds is allocated to farmers. I don’t anticipate any bureaucratic issues.”

He said that schemes like BEEP and BDGP are ground-breaking when it comes to the climate change agenda and said that those knocking the industry should remember that.

“It’s a pity that people who knock the industry all the time and whose solution would be to the climate agenda would be to slaughter the herd are not aware of the potential that is there in this scheme to drive the climate change agenda.”

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Sean Coughlan of the ICBF stated that the BEEP in conjunction with the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme has the potential to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions per cow by 10pc.

“There aren’t many tools available to reduce Greenhouse Gases that don’t cost money. Here we are able to continue to increase profitability at farm level and reduce overall Greenhouse Gases,” he said.

“A 10pc reduction in Greenhouse Gases per cow  is forecast in 2016-2030-that’s an absolute figure. This is the holy grail. We are increasing profitability and reducing the impact of Greenhouse Gases.”

Mr Coughlan pointed out that the new BEEP is an excellent opportunity to focus on weanling efficiency which is a key driver of farm profitability and sustainability.

Scales to record weight data as part of the BEEP can be owned, rented or borrowed and must be pre-registered and approved. It is understood  that scales are set to be made available at local co-ops for farmers in the scheme to use.

Applications for the scheme will open on February 4 and will close on February 22.

There is provision for payment of up to €40 per cow.

Submission of weights will take place from March 8 to November 1 2019 and payments will be issued in December.

All animals submitted for weighing must have been born between July 1 2018 and 30 June 2019.

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