The Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group has proposed a measure which would see suckler farmers receive a payment to exit the sector.
It released further details about its proposed Voluntary Diversification Scheme in its final report, which it released in recent days.
The measure (number eight), in its proposed format in the report, would see the removal of suckler cows and the development of other non-breeding beef or sheep enterprises and/or other enterprises.
The report contains an estimated payment rate of €1,080/suckler cow for farms exiting, but it does stress that this is not a recommendation, as it is subject to an agreed level of public funding.
The report also suggests a payment of €1,350/suckler cow to cut numbers, as reported by That’s Farming in this news article.
It has stated that the impact of measure eight – which it suggests as a short-term measure – would provide additional reductions.
However, it acknowledged that its impact depends on the level of participation in the voluntary scheme.
The report states that “this scheme will only have a direct impact if structured in a way which ensures that reductions in breeding ruminants on a participating farm are not offset by increases in breeding ruminant numbers on that farm, or on other farms”.
It states that such a measure would have to be “carefully designed and managed to avoid unforeseen consequences”.
Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions
Its other proposed measures listed in the publication include:
- Improving live weight performance for beef cattle resulting in earlier slaughter ages, reducing the age of slaughter by between 2.7 and 3.9 months on average, from 2018 average of 26 months to 22-23 months on average by 2030;
- Reduce age at first calving of suckler beef cows by between 2.0 to 3.8 months compared to 2018
- Development of methane-mitigating feed technologies;
- Target a 90% replacement rate of CAN with Protected Urea by the end of 2025 for grass-based beef production systems;
- – Reduce chemical nitrogen use in the beef sector by 27% – 30% on average by 2030, with an interim target of 22 – 25% by 2025. (This is a reduction from approximate usage in 2018 by the Beef and Sheep Sector of 143k tonnes to 104k – 100k tonnes by the end of 2030);
- Increase area under organic beef production to 180,000 ha by 2027;
- Develop methane-mitigating breeding strategies (carbon subindex) B) develop methane-mitigating breeding strategies (building efficiency traits);
- Voluntary Extensification Scheme (reduction in the number of suckler cows and the development of other nonbreeding beef or sheep enterprises and/or other farm enterprises).