Beef Data and Genomics Programme

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme provides financial support to suckler beef farmers.

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme will run from 2015 until 2020 to provide financial support to suckler beef farmers who undertake to carry out actions aimed at improving the genetic merit of their suckler herd.

Those who enter the scheme commit to meet the full requirements for the 6-year period of the scheme. Those in the scheme must also comply with BVD Requirements annually.

IFA has raised serious concerns with Minister Coveney and the Department that many aspects of the new scheme are over complicated, the requirements are set at too high a level and will impose excessive costs on farmers.


The scheme aims to support the suckler herd by improving the genetic merit of the national herd through the collection of data and genotyping animals and to lower greenhouse gas emissions by improving quality and efficiency.


The scheme is worth €52m pa. For the six-year duration of the scheme, farmers will receive a payment equivalent to €95 for the first 10 cows in the herd, and €80 for each remaining cows.

While farmers have to have suckler cows to get paid, the payment is calculated on a per-hectare basis. The number of hectares will be calculated using the number of eligible suckler cows producing a calf in 2014 divided by a stocking rate of 1.5. The per hectare payment rates are €142.50/ha for the first 6.66 ha and €120/ha for the remaining eligible hectares.

Payments will commence in December 2015, and will be made by mid-December each year.


IFA is concerned about the complexity of some aspects of the scheme and has made it clear to Minister Coveney and the Department that the scheme must be practical and that farmers must not incur unnecessary additional costs to meet the scheme criteria. Information on the requirements under the scheme is outlined below.

Calf registration
Each calf must be tagged and registered with the Department within 27 days of birth. The sire details for each calf must be registered and a calving survey must be completed.

Surveys and data
Surveys must be completed each year relating to calves, cows and bulls recording aspects such as docility, quality, milking ability, as well as some animal health issues such as scour and pneumonia.

ICBF will select animals to be genotyped each year and tissue tag samples will be required from the selected animals. The number of animals genotyped each year will be at least equivalent to 60% of the number of calved suckler cows on the farm in 2014. Genotyping costs will not exceed 15% of the value of the scheme.

Replacement strategy
Stock Bull: If the farmer is using a stock bull, by June 30th 2019, at least one bull on the farm must have been genotyped 4 or 5 star at the time of purchase.

AI: 80% of AI used on the farm must be from 4 or 5 star bulls by June 30th 2016.

Female Replacements: A percentage of replacement heifers/eligible suckler cows must be genotyped 4 or 5 star on the replacement index: By the end of October 2018 at least 20% of the reference animals (the number of calved cows in 2014) must comply, and this increases to 50% by end October 2020. These animals must be at least 16 months old and have been born in 2013 or later.

Carbon navigator
Farmers have to complete a carbon navigator on the farm by the end of October 2016, and this will be updated in each subsequent year. The first carbon navigator must be undertaken with the help of an approved advisor – the Department will cover the cost of the advisor.

Applicants will have to attend specific training courses related to the scheme by 31st October 2016 – €166 will be paid to cover the cost of training.

BVD testing
Animals must be tested for BVD within 20 days of birth. Applicants will not be eligible to join the scheme where PI animals born since January 2012 have not been removed from the herd before May 29th 2015. Farmers must comply with BVD Requirements annually and PI animals must be removed.


All those in the scheme may be subject to compliance checks annually. Inspections will be carried out on at least 5% of beneficiaries. Notice of inspection may be up to 14 days.


The scheme has a detailed penalty schedule based on a breakdown of the specific requirements and allocated payment in each area.


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