The €20 million Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme will not be exclusive to Beef Data and Geonomics Programme(BDGP) participants, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has confirmed.
At a media briefing earlier this morning, Minister Creed revealed that the BEEP will be available to all suckler farmers.
He outlined that the BEEP scheme is an "important development" of the BDGP principle as it is “incentivising the collection of further data”.
"It is compatible with our climate change obligations which is really important," Creed stated.
The Minster said the main objective of the BDGP - which is being funded under the Rural Development Fund - is to make the suckler beef sector economically efficient and to reduce its carbon footprint.
"That is to get a smaller suckler cow; a bigger weanling; a cow that goes in-calf every year; higher fertility; a cow that has a good milk yield; a cow that is easy-calving."
He said that the new initiative announced as part of the Budget 2019 is about measuring weanling efficiency - the weight of the weanling relevant to the weight of the suckler cow.
"Weanling efficiency is a deficit in the data that we currently have and this will generate additional data that I think will accelerate the journey to a far more carbon efficient suckler beef herd."
“The journey is to get a smaller beef cow, therefore being more economically efficient, producing a bigger weanling.”
The BEEF scheme will deliver a payment of €40/weanling, on the assumption of 500,000 weanlings participating, Creed outlined.
"In the event that there are greater numbers than 500,000 weanlings applying, some sort of self-selection criteria will have to be applied because the funding is €20 million." Minister Creed explained.
The Minister said that he engaged in discussion with the ICBF and noted that are some contractors that deliver weighing services.
He acknowledged that there would not be capacity within this current level of service to meet the demands of this scheme.
"This is the right thing to do in terms of the sector in terms of accelerating the genetic improvement of the beef herd but it also delivers financially for farmers," Creed concluded.
Creed said that he hopes the scheme will available to applicants in the "early summer".