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Creed Announces Re-Opening of Beef Data and Genomics Programme

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD today announced the re-opening of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP). This will make the scheme available to beef suckler farmers who are not already members of the scheme.  The scheme will be known as BDGP II and will, like the original, commit to six years of payments to farmers for completion of actions aimed at delivering accelerated genetic improvement in the national herd and improvement of its environmental sustainability.

Commenting on the re-opening of the scheme Minister Creed said “the success of the BDGP scheme over the course of its first two years has led to many calls for the programme to be re-opened. Its benefits in driving both genetic improvement and sustainability of our beef farms are now well recognised. I have listened to these requests and examined the potential for re-opening the scheme in the context of the overall Rural Development Programme and today I am delighted to announce that the scheme will be re-opened. This is a significant investment in the suckler sector and a real vote of confidence by this Government in its future”

The scheme will require farmers to complete the same actions as in the original BDGP over the course of six years, starting in 2017 and concluding in 2022.  There will be a small change to the timing of the training and carbon navigator requirements. The Minister explained “From listening to the feedback from farmers in BDGPI, it became clear that the training and carbon navigator actions were found to be extremely helpful to farmers in understanding the actions that they would need to take in order to satisfy the requirements of the BDGP.   It is as a result of this feedback that I have decided to bring the training and carbon navigator actions forward to year one of this scheme.”

Commenting on participation the Minister said “I am anxious to ensure as many farmers as possible avail of this opportunity to join this innovative and ambitious scheme that is a world’s first in its use of technology and genomics to produce better, more environmentally friendly and sustainable beef cattle.” The scheme will be open for applications from next Wednesday 19th April with a closing date of Monday 8th May2017,and further details on the application process can be got by contacting the Department’s offices in Portlaoise or 076 1064423.

Payments to participants will be the same as BDGPI i.e. €142.50 per hectare for the first 6.66 payable hectares under the scheme, and €120 per payable hectare after that, with the same timing requirements for returning of data in order to ensure payments can go out to as many farmers as possible in December of each scheme year.

Concluding, the Minister spoke on the beef sector “Irish beef is held in high esteem by consumers all over world for its taste, animal welfare standards and environmentally sound production systems.  The BDGP aims to re-enforce these vital qualities by further enhancing our production to be at the forefront of Irish and international efforts to tackle climate change. Simultaneous to this goal is the real and genuine opportunity for Irish beef farmers to bring about efficiencies to their herds which can benefit them in the short, medium and long term. The benefits that this scheme will bring to the Irish suckler herd are cumulative and permanent and are an essential element of the future sustainability producing beef from our suckler herd”


Notes for editors.

  • BDGP II will commence in 2017 and run until 2022.
  • Payment – Payment will be made at the rate of €142.50 for each of the first 6.66 hectares of eligible forage area and €120 on the remaining eligible forage area. The eligible hectares on which an applicant is entitled to claim will be equal to the number of calved cows on his/her holding in 2014 (known as reference animals) divided by a standard stocking rate of 1.5. This is subject to a limit which is set by the eligible forage land declared by the applicant on his/her 2014 SPS application.
  • Participants must complete 6 actions:
    • Requirement 1Calving details

Register all new born calves within 27 days of birth, provide sire number and complete survey relating to calving ease.

  • Requirement 2Surveys

Complete a range of surveys relating to the calves, cows and bulls in the applicant’s herd.

  • Requirement 3 Genotyping

Genotype all of the animals specified by the ICBF. Each year, the number to be genotyped will be equivalent to 60% of the number of reference animals on an applicant’s holding in 2014.

  • Requirement 4 – Replacement strategy

Stock bull – At least one stock bull on the holding on 30 June 2021 must be a bull that has been genotyped 4 or 5 star on either the Terminal or Replacement index and this, or a similar 4 or 5 star bull, must be retained on the holding until 30 June 2022.

Applicants are strongly advised to introduce 4 or 5 star bulls at the next replacement date to avoid compliance difficulties

AI –When using AI, at least 80% of the AI used must be from 4 or 5 star bulls on the Terminal or Replacement index. This applies from 30th June 2018.

Leased bulls – Where it is the practice of the applicant to lease a bull, he/she must notify the Department by 30 June 2018 of his/her intention to do so during the course of the scheme. Specific conditions apply – see T&C’s.

  • Female replacements – Applicants will be required to ensure that a percentage of his/her heifers/eligible Suckler cows are genotyped females that are:

(i)  4 or 5 stars on the replacement index (see T&C’s for specific conditions).

(ii)  at least 16 months old and (iii)  born in 2015 or later if not in the herd by the closing date for application.

The number of heifers/eligible suckler cows meeting these requirements on each holding on 31st October 2020 must be equivalent to 20% of the number of the applicant’s reference animals (established based on 2014 stocking levels) and on 31st October 2022 must be equivalent to 50% of the applicant’s reference animals.

  • Requirement 5Carbon Navigator

Applicants must complete a carbon navigator with an approved advisor before 31 October 2017 and provide data for it to be annually updated. This is a tool which estimates the potential green house gas reductions and financial savings that could be made on each farm.

  • Requirement 6Training

Applicants must attend a training course relating to this scheme before 31 October 2017.

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 65/2017 (pdf 215Kb) 

Date Released: 13 April 2017