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Further flexibility granted for SCEP herds

Further flexibility granted for SCEP herds

Further flexibility has been granted for participants in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) whose herds may be impacted by the ICBF evaluation changes which came into effect on November 28, 2023.

Split into five actions, one of the requirements of SCEP is the Female Replacement Strategy. This action requires participants to have 65% of their reference number as being 4 or 5-star females on the Replacement Index by 2025, further rising to 75% in 2027.

Participants in SCEP have already been advised that animals that fell from 4 or 5-star as part of the evaluation run in November 2023 would still be eligible. Their original index would count for compliance reasons, provided they remained within the herd.

Now, the Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D, has moved to apply further flexibility for farmers in the scheme.

This additional flexibility means that female offspring of genotyped females in SCEP herds that do not become eligible for SCEP on their own genomic evaluation may become eligible if their sire and dam meet a minimum requirement on the September 2023 ICBF evaluation. That is where the dam was 3, 4 or 5-star and the sire 4 or 5-star on the Replacement Index. This female offspring will be considered ‘SCEP eligible’ even if, when they are genotyped, they are not evaluated as 4 or 5-star in their own right.

Importantly, this flexibility would exist for all years of the SCEP programme. Such females will retain this ‘SCEP eligible’ status where they are traded to another SCEP herd. If, however, they are traded to a non SCEP herd, they will lose this ‘SCEP eligible’ status.

On this flexibility, Minister McConalogue said he has listened to the feedback from stakeholders and he believes the flexibility “provides assurance to SCEP participants that they will not be negatively impacted by the evaluation index changes which were implemented in November 2023”.

Changes to reference number

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine also advises that SCEP participants can now amend their 2024 yearly reference number through their Agfood account. This facilitates famers who wish to alter their commitments under the programme requirements to meet their individual needs or changing circumstances. The window to amend 2024 yearly reference numbers is open until 23.59hrs on 19 February 2024.

Any changes made to the 2024 reference number (either increases or decreases) will have an associated impact on the requirements/actions to be carried out by the participants and on the maximum payment that the participant will be eligible to draw down later in 2024. Once an application to amend the 2024 yearly reference number is submitted online, no amendments can be made.

Additional reading

SCEP: Knowing the worth of full compliance

Chasing cost reductions through breeding – the role of the updated Replacement Index