Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (95)

Joe Carey


95. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the roll-out of the beef environmental efficiency pilot; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28270/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) is an Exchequer funded, voluntary initiative of one year's duration.

The objective of BEEP is to further increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd though improvement in the quantity and quality of performance data that is collected. This will be done through the enhancement of the national herd dataset for genetic evaluations, with a view to supporting the adoption of best practice and more informed decision making at farm level. The Pilot targets the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves through the collection of the live weights of cows and progeny in the herd of each participant.

18,834 beef farmers applied to participate in the Pilot, and they will receive payment of up to €40 per eligible calf provided they comply with the requirements to weigh each animal and provide the requisite data to ICBF in accordance with the Terms and Conditions.

ICBF have been registering privately owned scales and accepting weight records from participating beef farmers since the 8th of March.  2,582 privately owned scales have been registered to date and, at the start of May, I welcomed the roll-out of rental scales that participants in the BEEP scheme can use to record cow and calf weights as part of the Pilot.

168 scales are currently available at some 73 locations and, in the coming days, we will see the final batch of scales distributed which will see a total of 400 scales available from Marts and Co Ops across the country. To date, in excess of 50,000 eligible calves have been weighed as part of the Pilot.  Weight records can be submitted online, by dedicated form available from the ICBF or by using specially developed smartphone apps for Android and Apple devices that facilitate the quick and accurate submission of weighing data.