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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 €150/suckler cow scheme opens

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has announced the opening of its €260m Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) under the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).

The SCEP, the successor to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), has a budget of €260m over five years and is co-funded by the EU under the CSP.

The SCEP rewards participant farmers with a payment equivalent to €150/cow on the first 22 cows and €120/cow on subsequent cows, according to the DAFM.

SCEP payments will be made on an area basis. Provided that all scheme requirements are met, area-based payments of €225 for the first 15 hectares and €180 for the remaining hectares up to the maximum payable area will be made to participants.

Applications can be lodged through with a closing date of May 22nd, 2023, for the SCEP.

The SCEP targets bovine emissions through enhanced use of genetics, genomics, and performance metrics and will operate as a five-year contract.

Mandatory actions

The scheme, which is subject to final approval by the European Commission, is structured around a number of mandatory actions which must be undertaken by participants in each year of the scheme.

These actions relate to the replacement strategy for both dams and sires, genotyping, weighing of suckler cow/calf pairs and data recording.

Referring to the rationale for the scheme and its strategic context, Minister McConalogue said:

“A key policy goal of Food Vision 2030 – the overall strategy for the agri-food sector – is to increase environmental sustainability within the sector.”

“Data from the BDGP demonstrated that it improved environmental and productive efficiency with resultant benefits for farm-level competitiveness.”

“Our suckler sector is the best in the world, and I am confident that SCEP will further enhance our reputation on the global stage.”

“The SCEP will build on the gains achieved through the BDGP and the more recent exchequer-funded Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme.”

“The commitments that farmers are asked to make under this scheme reflect the need to have reliable, evidence-based data.”

“We need this data to prove reduced emissions from livestock production and meet climate targets.”

Membership of the Bord Bia SBLAS is a requirement for participation in this scheme, and participants need to “engage early” with Bord Bia to ensure that they meet this requirement, the minister urged farmers.

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