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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: Key dates for your 2023 diary

There are a number of key dates that farmers who join the five-year €260 million Suckler Carbon Efficiency programme must earmark in their 2023 diaries to comply with the scheme, writes That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane.

In this article, we have summarised a list of dates for this year and plan to publish separate posts on deadlines across 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027 for the scheme, which is the BDGP’s replacement.

SCEP – Key dates in 2023

  • March 20th, 2023 – Application opening date;
  • May 22nd, 2023 – Application closing date (25.39) (25-calendar day period after May 22nd, 2023 closing date for acceptance of late applications and any necessary supporting documentation) Decide on your yearly reference number, as the DAFM will not accept any amendments to this after the submission of applications in year 1 or after the Jan deadline in years 2-5.
  • May 29th, 2023 – Closing date for BISS applications – Eligibility conditions: Be farming a holding in respect of which a valid BISS application is submitted to the DAFM on a yearly basis and on which all land parcels are declared;
  • October 16th, 2023 – Be a member of the SBLAS by this date and have continued participation for the full duration of the programme. See our news article on common non-compliance areas in SBLAS audits;
  • At least 50% of the yearly reference number calved on the holding must be eligible calves between scheme year 1 (see dates below) and every scheme year thereafter;
  • Eligible AI/eligible bull (action 1) – at least 80% of calves must be sired from a 4 or 5-star source, i.e. genotyped 4 or 5-star bull on either the terminal or replacement index (on a within or across breed basis) at time of service and/or, if using AI, the AI straw on the holding must be from a 4 or 5-star eligible bull on either the terminal or replacement index (on a within or across the breed basis) – derogation from this requirement for scheme in year 1 (July 1st, 2022 to June 30th, 20230. In the event that an applicant calves more than 50% requirement, these animals must also be sired from a 4 or 5-star source to a minimum of at least 80% of their yearly reference number;
  • October 31st, 2023: Female replacement strategy – Action 2: By this date, at least 50% of their yearly reference number are eligible females that are genotyped 4 or 5 stars on the replacement index (on a within or across breed basis) at the time of purchase (for replacements brought into the herd) or at the time of genotyping (for those replacements bred within the herd).
  • November 30th, 2023: Genotyping – Action 3: Genomic samples for scheme year 1 must be returned by this date and will not be accepted after this date. No of animals to be genotyped each year will be at least equivalent to 70% of a farmer’s yearly reference number, rounded down to the nearest animal;
  • November 1st, 2023: Weighing and submission of data to ICBF – If you are recording weights online/electronically, weights must be recorded on ICBF’s database by 5:30 pm on this date. ICBF must receive weights by post by 5:30 pm on the same date if you wish to opt for this data recording method. Weights must be submitted within 7 days of weighing and no later than November 1st annually;
  • Tag and register all calves within 27 days of birth – Tag number or AI code of sire must be provided for each calf [Action 5 – calving details);
  • Feb 15th, 2024 – 5B) event recording – closing date for submission of 2023 data for commitments 1 and 2, as explained further in this news article. Calves must be maintained on the holding for at least five months to ensure the validity of all data recorded.

Scheme years:

    • 1 – July 1st, 2023 to June 30th, 2023;
    • 2 – July 1st, 2023 to June 30th, 2024;
    • 3 – July 1st, 2024 to June 30th, 2025;
    • 4 – July 1st, 2025 to June 30th, 2026;
    • 5 – July 1st, 2025 to June 30th, 2027.
An explainer for farmers:
  • Scheme name: SCEP – Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme
  • Background: Targets bovine emissions through enhanced use of genetics, genomics, and performance metrics;
  • Eligibility criteria: 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.
  • Programme activities:5 main actions:
  • 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 that meet scheme eligibility requirements.
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