IFA National Livestock Vice Chair Declan Hanrahan said direct supports for suckler and beef farmers must be the priority for the Minister for Agriculture in next week’s Budget.
He said the National Beef Welfare Scheme announced by the Minister to replace the BEEPs has been a huge disappointment. It’s underfunded and includes measures with 100% leakage of monies to service providers.
This scheme must be revisited and the IBR testing component removed and replaced with practical measures that add value to the farm without interfering with the marketing of our animals for this year.
“The funding for this scheme for next year must be increased in Budget 2024 to deliver €300/cow when combined with the SCEP and be based on measures that add value on our farms while minimising leakage of the monies,” he said.
Turning to the SCEP scheme, the IFA National Livestock Vice Chair said the Minister for Agriculture must align the genotyping costs for suckler farmers in the scheme with those in the National Genotyping Programme.
He said partaking in the National Genotyping Programme for suckler farmers would simplify the genotyping aspect of the SCEP programme for 2024, facilitating genotyping of calves at birth to meet the genotype requirement however the Minister must do more on the costs for suckler farmers in the programme.
Declan Hanrahan said he would strongly advise suckler farmers in SCEP to join the National Genotype Programme to simplify meeting the requirements of SCEP but the issues around the costs for suckler farmers must be addressed.
All genotyping should be the same price but at a minimum where suckler farmers join the National Genotyping Programme they should not be charged any fees for samples tested above the SCEP requirements.
There is enormous pressure from Government on farmers to meet climate targets, with particular emphasis on reducing the age of slaughter.
To achieve any reduction in slaughter age, animal performance throughout its lifetime must be maximised, with breeding decisions in advance of this critical to the performance of the animal.
Farmers rearing calves must be supported for rearing high CBV animals by providing €100/calf for the rearing phase.
The store and finishing stage must receive direct support of €100/animal to support best practice and ensure the performance of these animals is maximised to achieve the optimum slaughter age for the animal and production system.
Declan Hanrahan said we have already seen the impact of the proposed payment for finishing farmers in NI in the marts down here and a similar payment for Irish farmers to help meet the climate targets will add value through the chain for all farmers.
“There is a huge opportunity for the Minister in the upcoming Budget to address the shortcomings in supports for suckler and beef farmers,” he said.