At the start of the year suckler farmers were strongly encouraged to apply for the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot – Suckler (BEEP-S) scheme. Introduced in 2019, the BEAM scheme together with the BEEP scheme provided €120 million financial assistance to farmers. After revising the scheme, the 2020 BEEP-S Programme with a funding provision of €35m was introduced.
BEEP-S targets the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves by measuring the live weight of the calf at weaning as a percentage of the cow’s live weight. It also contains elements to improve the welfare of the cow at weaning and control liver fluke in the adult cow.
Applicants could apply from March 12th until May 15th and in total, more than 27,000 applications were received in this window for the scheme. Farmers who were approved can receive €90 for the first 10 calf/cow pairs and €80 for the remainder up to a maximum of 100 pairs/herd for submitting weights. For farmers who entered the 2020 scheme to secure the full payment, they must undertake 3 actions. The first action is compulsory and action 2 and 3 are both optional.
The first action is to separately weigh each unweaned calf and its dam. It is critical for the farmers submit all weights to ICBF within 7 days. Guidelines state that each unweaned calf and dam must be weighed on the applicant’s holding on the same day. Only scales registered in accordance with the scheme terms and conditions may be used. Farm Relief Services provide registered scales. Farmers must submit all weights before 1st of November 2020.
For action 2, there are two options. Farmers must choose one option but be aware that both carry the same payment. The first option involves meal feeding. Farmers must introduce meal feeding for a period of 4 weeks pre-weaning and 2 weeks post weaning to reduce the stress on calves at weaning time. The second option involves implementing a vaccination programme for respiratory diseases in suckler calves. Farmers should seek advice from their local veterinarian for a suitable vaccination programme. Farmers must keep a record of all actions for which option they choose. Action 2 is optional, but farmers undertaking the action can receive €30 per calf weighed for meal feeding or €30 per calf weighed that was vaccinated, maximum of 100 calves.
The third action is also optional, this is faecal egg testing of cows. Farmers should place cows in a clean pen and collect faecal samples from at least 10 different fresh faecal deposits. Fresh samples must be kept in separate containers and submitted to an approved laboratory on or before 1st November 2020. The filled containers of faeces should be stored in a plastic zip lock bag and posted on the of day of sampling. The samples are checked for liver and rumen fluke and the animals should be dosed accordingly. Farmers will receive €10 per cow for faecal egg testing, maximum of 100 cows.
Farm Relief Services provide a nationwide Weighing Technician Service for the BEEP-S scheme. Contact your local FRS office to book your weighing in. Visit https://frsfarmreliefservices.ie/weighing/ for more information.
Farmers can easily report weight to ICBF by using Herdwatch. The farming app automatically sends weight records to ICBF which means farmers will get the benefit of better reporting from ICBF. Herdwatch is fully approved by ICBF to provide this integration free of charge to members. For more information visit https://herdwatch.ie/.