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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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SCEP: Action 1 – Eligible bull/ eligible AI: What farmers need to know

Intertwining some measures from the previous CAP’s BDGP and BEEP-S, the DAFM’s new five-year €260 million 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”.

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”.

It has five main actions, as follows that applicants must complete:

  1. Eligible bull/ eligible AI;
  2. Female replacement strategy;
  3. Genotyping;
  4. Weighing and submission of weights to ICBF;
  5. Calving details and surveys (5A and 5B).
Action 1

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 1 – eligible bull/eligible AI.

As with the BDGP, farmers in the scheme will be required to maintain a proportion of high genetic merit animals on their holding.

As stated in the scheme’s terms and conditions, which the DAFM has published on its website in recent days, in each scheme year, applicants must calve at least 50% beef breed animals of the yearly reference number.

In scheme years 1 and 2, 80%  of these  calves  must  have  been  sired  from  a  4  or  5 -star  source,  i.e.,  a  genotyped  4  or  5 -star  bull  on  either  the  terminal  or  replacement index (on a within or across breed basis) at time of service.

If a farmer is and/or using  AI, the AI straw used on participating holdings must be from a 4 or 5-star eligible bull on either the terminal or replacement index (on a within-breed or an across breed basis).

In the event that an applicant calves more than the 50% requirement, these animals must also be sired from a 4/5 star source to a  minimum of at least 80% of their yearly reference number, the scheme’s terms and conditions state.

According to the DAFM, there is a derogation from the 80% requirement in scheme year 1 – July 1st, 2022 – June 30th, 2023.

Higher requirements

According to the DAFM, this increases to 85% in scheme years 3 & 4 and rises to 90% in scheme year 5 (five-year scheme).

The calves born can be sired from 4 or 5-star bulls, 4 or 5-star AI straws or a mixture of both.
For those participants using Rare Breed sires (as defined in the definitions of the DAFM’s document), a derogation from the annual targets under this action may be granted in certain circumstances.

Such requests should be made to Beef Schemes before June 30th each year for case by case consideration.

Action 1 accounts for 20% of a farmer’s total SCEP payment, and penalties associated with breaches of individual requirements will be based on the proportion that requirement consists of, of the total payment, the DAFM has highlighted.

Summary: [years and % requirement]

  • 1 (note above) & 2 – 80%;
  • 3 & 4 – 85%;
  • 5 – 90%.
Explainer for farmers:
  • Scheme name: SCEP – Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme
  • Background: Targets bovine emissions through enhanced use of genetics, genomics, and performance metrics;
  • Requirements: 5 main actions. Also: Become a member of the SBLAS (Sustainable Lamb and Beef Assurance Scheme) by October 16th, 2023 and maintain membership throughout their SCEP contract terms (full duration of the programme); Submit a BISS (BPS’ replacement) application every year and calve at least 50% of reference animals annually;
  • Budget: €260 million over 5 years;
  • Payment rates for farmers: 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;
  • When to apply: Opening date: March 20th, 2023 and closing date: May 22nd, 2023;
  • How to apply: Through either yourself or by an approved/appointed FAS advisor authorised to act on your behalf;
  • Who can apply: All suckler farmers.
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