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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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New suckler scheme: How many animals must I genotype?

Action 3 SCEP – Genotyping

Intertwining some measures from the previous CAP’s BDGP and BEEP-S, the DAFM’s new €260m Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) revolves around five main actions.

Readers should note that the new SCEP should not be confused with the National Beef Welfare Scheme 2023, which, as previously reported by That’s Farming in this news article, is BEEP-S’ replacement in the new programme.

Meanwhile, the SCEP is BDGP’s replacement and, according to the DAFM, aims to “provide support to beef farmers to improve the environmental sustainability of the national beef herd”.

In this news article on That’s Farming, we looked at the three primary eligibility requirements relating to SBLAS membership, submitting a BISS application and calving at least 50% of your reference number annually.

SCEP – 5 actions

The scheme’s objective is to “build on the gains delivered in recent years through the BDGP and BEEP by improving the genetic merit of the Irish suckler herd”.

Once you are accepted into the scheme, you are required to carry out five main actions as follows:

  1. Eligible bull/ eligible AI, as explained in this news article;
  2. Female replacement strategy, as outlined in this news article;
  3. Genotyping;
  4. Weighing and submission of weights to ICBF;
  5. Calving details and surveys (5A and 5B).

Separate articles on the remaining measures to follow.

Action 3

For the purpose of this news article, as part of a new mini-series, That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, takes a look at action number 3, which revolves around genotyping requirements.

Under this measure, applicants will be required to take tissue tag samples from animals selected for genotyping (a valid genotype and genomic evaluation).

As per the scheme’s terms and conditions, the ICBF (Irish Cattle Breeding Federation), will select animals for the measure and notify you of the animals it has selected.

However, as was the case with the BDGP, it may be possible for the herdowner to nominate alternative animals for genotyping by using its online facility.

According to the DAFM, the number of animals to be genotyped each year will be at least equivalent to 70% of the beneficiary’s ‘yearly reference number’ (rounded down to the nearest animal).

In the scheme’s terms and conditions, which the DAFM has made available this week, it provided an example of a herdowner with a yearly reference of 10.

They must have sufficient animals to genotype 7 females, calves or eligible bulls without repetition of animals genotyped under the programme to date.

If an animal selected for genotyping, for example, is sold or dies before the herdowner receives sample tags, the applicant must immediately contact the ICBF to request a test kit for an alternative animal and obtain that sample to meet scheme requirements.

Cost of genotyping – who pays?

Each applicant is liable for the cost of genotyping in respect of his/her application, the DAFM has stated.

According to the ICBF, it costs in the region of €22/head to genotype an animal.

The DAFM has stated that if a farmer returns more genomic samples than his/her required number, he/she will be liable for the extra cost.

The cost will be recovered as a deduction from the SCEP payment.

For administrative purposes, the applicant agrees to have the cost of genotyping deducted by the DAFM from his/her payments.

In the event that he/she is not able to continue participation in the programme, these costs may be recovered from other payments from the Department.


Genomic samples will not be accepted after November 30th, each year, so it is important that applicants earmark this date in their calendars.

For example, the scheme’s year one will run from July 1st, 2022, to June 30th, 2023, and farmers must return genomic samples by November 30th, 2023.

Payment and sanctions

As is the case with actions 1, 2, and 4, genotyping accounts for 20% of a farmer’s total SCEP payment.

If a farmer fails to meet the requirement to genotype 70% of their yearly reference number annually, will, depending on circumstances, see either a reduced or no payment for genotyping, depending on the percentage they genotype, and an additional penalty of up to 50% [See the scheme’s terms and conditions].

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