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Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme 2023 - 2027

Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme 2023 - 2027

On Monday 20th March, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine launched the new Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP), Aidan Murray, Teagasc Beef Specialist, tells us more in this article.

You can can apply via Agfood.ie until midnight on the 22nd May 2023. It is a five year programme, which will run up to the end of 2027. At the time of application, those of you with suckler cows prior to 2021 will be given a three year average reference value and you can select your best three years. So the example below shows that the best years were 2018-2020, with a maximum reference number of 42. This farmer can set their programme reference number up to a maximum of 42. But it may be set lower than this.Scep example shows that the best years were 2018-2020 with a maximum reference number of 42

So the programme reference can be set and, as shown below, they can then set a yearly reference figure for 2023. This cannot exceed the programme reference figure, but can be set up to 20% below the programme reference figure. An individual can set a yearly reference value each each year of the scheme. It would be worth having a conversation with your advisor on what you should set your programme reference figure at. The value you pick should reflect where you plan to go numbers wise with your sucklers.

SCEP yearly reference figure for 2023

Payment rates

Payments rates have been revised upwards compared to the old BDGP, but you do have the extra weighing task built into the SCEP. As it is deemed as an environmental scheme, payments will be made on a per hectare basis. So for example, a herd with a reference number of 30 cows when divided by a stocking rate of 1.5LU/ha will need 20ha. The first 15ha will be paid at €225/ha (€3,375) and the remaining 5ha at €180/ha (€900) - a total of €4,275 minus genotyping costs. The scheme year runs from July 1st to June 30th. For 2023, the scheme year is 1st July 2022 to 30th June 2023.

Five main actions

Action 1 – Eligible Bull/Eligible AI

Applicants will be required to maintain a proportion of high genetic merit animals on their holding. In each scheme year, applicants must calve at least 50% beef breed animals of the yearly reference number. In scheme year one and two, 80% of these calves must have been sired from a 4 or 5 star source, i.e., a 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 used on participating holdings must be from a 4 or 5 star eligible bull on either the Terminal or Replacement index (on a within breed or an across breed basis). This increases to 85% in scheme years three and four and to 90% in scheme year five. The calves born can be sired from 4 or 5 star bulls, 4 or 5 star AI straws or a mixture of both.

Action 2 - Female Replacement Strategy

 Applicants are required to ensure that by the 31st October 2023 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 breed or on across breed basis). This increases to 65% by October 31st in 2025 and 75% by October 31st 2027. Females must be at least 16 months old.

Action 3 – Genotyping

The number of animals to be genotyped each year will be at least equivalent to 70% of the 'yearly reference number'. Genomic samples will not be accepted after the 30th of November of each year.

Action 4 - Weighing and Submission of Weights to ICBF

Participants must weigh at least 80% of eligible animals born on the holding of the yearly reference number in each scheme year and their dams and submit weights to ICBF as detailed below:

  • The calf must be a minimum of 50 days old before it is eligible to be weighed.
  • Weights should be submitted within 7 days of weighing and no later than 01 November.

As was the case in BEEP, the calf must be unweaned at the time of weighing and a registered scales must be used. The cow and calf must be weighed on the same day.

Action 5 – Calving Details and Surveys

In addition to meeting the statutory requirements for tagging and registration, programme applicants must complete the calving ease survey for each calf. Each year, applicants will be required to complete survey forms supplied by the ICBF in respect of all eligible cows, calves and bulls on his/her holding and return these to the ICBF.

Additional Requirements

  • Must calve 50% of the yearly reference number each year;
  • Must be a member of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance scheme (SBLAS) by 16th October 2023;
  • Must attend the SCEP training course and an animal handling course by 15th November.

Full terms and conditions are available on: gov.ie - Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) (www.gov.ie)

Peter Harte, from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, joined Catherine Egan on a recent episode of the Beef Edge podcast to outline the new Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP).

For more episodes of the Beef Edge podcast, produced on behalf of Teagasc by LastCastMedia.com, visit the show page.