New Suckler scheme ‘a major disappointment’

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has expressed major disappointment with the newly announced National Beef Welfare Scheme.

National Vice-President Micheal McDonnell has called on the Minister and his officials to review the scheme stating that there needed to be an increase in the overall payment rate and as well as a full review around the IBR testing requirement.

“This scheme was eagerly anticipated by suckler farmers, especially those that didn’t join SCEP,” he said.

“While it is positive that there are no impediments to joining as there is with the Bord Bia requirement under SCEP, the reality is that for the vast majority of suckler farmers there is no great incentive to join”.

Mr McDonnell said that INHFA proposals had pointed for the need for a front-loaded payment on the first 10 cows and practical measures and payment rates that would encourage participation.

“Unfortunately, the €50/cow payment rate is well short of what is required and while some may argue that there is a front-loaded payment on the first 20 cows, most of the financial benefit will be off-set through the IBR testing requirement”.