The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has announced the launch of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), with a funding provision of €20m in 2019.
BEEP will target the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves - measuring the live weight of the calf at weaning as a percentage of the cow's live weight. In opening the scheme, the Minister said: “The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) is a targeted support for suckler farmers and is specifically aimed at further improving the economic and environmental efficiency of beef production. This is done by measuring the weaning efficiency of suckler cows. Participating farmers will also get detailed feedback on the performance of individual animals and this will allow them to identify the most productive cows in their herd. Building on the success of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, the data collected will also be a valuable addition to Ireland's already impressive cattle breeding database. Breeding improvement through the Economic Breeding Index is identifying the most efficient animals for grass based production system”.
The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot was announced in Budget 2019 as part of the €78m Brexit package for the agri-food industry. As well a environmental and climate benefits, the BEEP will provide farm gate investment at a time of market volatility and uncertainty relating to Brexit. The Minister said: “I am very conscious that 2018 was a very difficult year for beef farmers, in terms of weather, fodder issues and market volatility. This is the sector most exposed to Brexit, given its reliance on the UK market. The BEEP is designed to provide an injection of investment at a critical time for farmers navigating the challenges ahead, while delivering in real terms on our climate objectives”.