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Thursday 15 November 2018

Over 20pc of farmers have exited beef genomics scheme

Cows grazing
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

More than a fifth of farmers who joined the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) in 2015 have left the scheme.

Figures released by the Department of Agriculture to the Farming Independent show that 29,898 farmers submitted applications to participate in BDGP I in 2015.

However, just 23,104 farmers continue to participate in the programme. This is a reduction of 6,795 farmers — a fall-off rate of 22pc.

The Department said 5,841 herds withdrew from BDGP I, while a further 953 herds were disqualified for “failure to meet requirements of the programme”.

A total of 1,896 farmers submitted applications to participate in BDGP II in 2017.

Of this number, 1,511 farmers continue to participate in the programme.

The Department stated that 164 herds withdrew from BDGP II, with a further 221 being disqualified.

A recent Farmers’ Charter meeting was told by the Department that the total BDGP spend last year was €44.5m. This is €7.5m under the budgeted figure of €52m for the scheme.

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The BDGP has been heavily criticised by farmers as being overly complicated and bureaucratic.

A new €20m Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme for the suckler herd was announced as part of the Budget.

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