The objective of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), which was piloted in 2019, was to further increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd through better quality data on herd performance supporting decision making on farm. The key measure of the scheme is aimed at measuring weaning efficiency and this objective determines the timing of weighing. The 2019 budget allocated a total of €20 million for BEEP. A total of 16,556 farmers participated in the pilot with payments totalling €15.4m. Building on the success of the BEEP pilot of 2019, its successor BEEP-S of 2020 included optional animal health and welfare measures and provided payments of over €40 million to over 24,000 beef farmers.
Both of these schemes are now closed and payments have issued.
The details of the Beef Sector Efficiency Pilot announced in Budget 2021 are currently being finalised and this process includes consultations with key stakeholders including the main farm organization representatives. This scheme will build on the success of the BEEP-S scheme, aiming to improve the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves by recording weights and also optional animal health and welfare measures. This provides for a maximum payment per suckler cow/calf pair of €90 per head for the first 10 suckler cows, and €80 thereafter. The 2021 scheme will also contain €5 million for a new calf weighing measure to support beef farmers rearing dairy beef calves.