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Beef Finishing Payment and BDGP Requirements

2020 seems to be the year that keeps on giving - for the wrong reasons unfortunately. It is not all doom & gloom, eligible beef farmers can now apply for the new Beef Finishing Payment Scheme and fodder supplies seem to be significant on farm at present. Teagasc Advisor Keith Fahy tells us more.

Beef Finisher Payment (BFP):

€100 per animal is available under the new Beef Finishing Payment which comprises of €50 million and was funding received on the back of the losses incurred by beef finishers that were impacted by the economic effect of the Covid – 19 pandemic. Beef finishers that slaughtered cattle between the dates of 01/02/2020 and the 12/06/2020 are eligible to apply for €100 euro per animal slaughtered during this period. The payment is up to 100 eligible animals and farmers can apply for the payment up until the 09/09/2020. The application can be done online by logging onto your individual Ag Food account and clicking into the “Exceptional Aid Measure” tab and then selecting the “Beef Finisher Payment” tab or alternatively, you can contact your Teagasc/Agricultural Advisor.

There are a number of factors in which farmers must be aware of when applying. The payment is only applicable to bovines slaughtered between the 01/02/2020 and 12/06/2020 and all animals killed must have been over 8 months at slaughter and be resident on the qualifying herd for at least 30 days prior to slaughter. Farmers applying must have submitted a BPS application in 2020 and must also either be a member of the Bord Bia Quality assurance scheme or be willing to have signed up before the 30th of September 2020.  Any farmer that sold finishing stock in marts around the said timeframe should also check to see if any of their stock may qualify for the payment. I spoke to a farmer recently who had sold dry suckler cows at the mart but when he checked online it turned out that he was eligible to apply for these as they must have been sent to factory shortly after he sold them in the mart


A Teagasc survey in July showed that just 10% of farms had a fodder deficit with overall farms showing significant surpluses. Teagasc Advisors completed 700 fodder surveys nationwide. The fodder budgets were completed on a mixture of drystock and dairy farms with farms being selected at random. There was a 17% surplus of winter fodder recorded overall on drystock farms with dairy farmers also reporting to be 12% above demand. It must also be pointed out that these farms were surveyed in July and that extra fodder could have been secured since. With the recent high levels of rain fall some farmers on wetter ground are feeding silage as grazing conditions have deteriorated. This will have an impact on available fodder for winter if high levels of rain fall persist. Although it seems like we have received a lot of rain in recent weeks we cannot forget that Athenry received the highest rainfall in the country for August of last year at 297mm, it is interesting to note that this was almost 3 times the figure when compared to August 2017.  


Farmers in the BDGP 1 Scheme must also ensure that they meet the end of October deadline of having 50% of their reference number of cows/heifers must be eligible 4/5 star replacement females. Females must be genotyped 4/5 star and must be over 16 months of age on the 31st of October 2020. Therefore the females must be born/registered on the 30th of June 2019 or before to be eligible. Farmers would have received letters from ICBF on the current status on their herd or they can access this on the ICBF website under the BDGP section.

Penalties of up to 140% can be incurred if this deadline is not met. So not only will the farmer not receive any payment for 2020 they will also be deducted a further 40% of the gross payment for another year. There are a number of 4 and 5 star replacement heifer sales coming on stream in selected marts over the coming weeks. Farmers looking for 4/5 star genotyped heifers have a number of ways to purchase these heifers. They can be bought privately, through marts, specialist sales and ICBF have also launched a new Mart tracker where farmers can select the mart they purchase in and they can look up to see if any eligible females will be for sale in that mart on that day. This can be done by logging onto the ICBF home page and by clicking into the live mart tracker and then choose the mart and lots should appear. Numbers will vary depending on the time you check them as some heifers entered into the marts late on the day maybe slower to appear on the tracker so it is important to keep updating the search on the day of the sale.