Longford Leader Farming: BEAM – ‘What do I have to do’?

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Beam

To comply with BEAM farmers must cut their stocking rates by 5% in relation to cattle livestock nitrogen figures.

The Beef Emergency Aid Measure was a welcome financial boost to many farmers in the locality in recognition of the financial hardship and poor prices experienced as a result of the whole BREXIT episode.

Indeed some €75 million was paid out to approximately 32,500 farmers nationally in December 2019. The average payment per farmer in Roscommon was €1,750 for this measure.

To comply with the requirements of the scheme, farmers must cut their stocking rates by 5% in relation to cattle livestock nitrogen figures.

The Department of Agriculture have calculated a reference nitrogen figure for cattle for each farmer participating running from 1st July 2018 to 30th June 2019. More importantly the Department of Agriculture want a 5% reduction on this figure to take place on your farm between the 1/07/2020 and the 30/06/2021 respectively. The clock starts ticking from 1st July 2020 and will run for the next 12 months and the 5% reduction must take place during this period.

Example

Farmer with 50 1 – 2 year old cattle with total nitrogen figure at 2,850 Kgs for reference period at between 1/7/18 – 30/6/19 needs a 5% reduction to occur between 1/7/2020 and 30/6/2021 which is 143Kgs of nitrogen.

Farmer must reduce by 3 1- 2 year old cattle giving a reduction of 171Kgs of nitrogen. Farmer will have an average 47 1 – 2 year olds instead of 50 for the period between 1/7/2020 and 30/06/2021 respectively.

The Department are using the following livestock nitrogen figures:

Suckler Cow 65Kgs Nitrogen
0 – 1 year old 24Kgs Nitrogen
1 – 2 year old 57 Kgs Nitrogen
>2 year old 65Kgs Nitrogen

Remember, it is no harm at all to build in a slightly larger reduction/safety margin, a more simplified view might be to reduce your cattle livestock numbers by 5% but this is not entirely accurate in all cases and this is why the Department are insisting on using Nitrogen figures for all farmers.
It is important to note that the farmer does not have to make the reduction by the 1/7/2020 and can average the reduction of 5% over the next 12 months.

Other options such as the earlier selling of cattle e.g. selling weanlings at 7 months of age instead of 12 months of age or indeed the purchase of younger cattle such as weanlings instead of store cattle may be very helpful in meeting requirements.

Some farmers may even opt for reduced cattle numbers over the winter months to meet the requirements and also reduce workload.

Farmers should also be conscious of other scheme requirements such as BDGP and the ANC and factor these into their decision making.

Every participant in BEAM has their own reduction to meet for this measure and judging from recent phone calls there is a lot of confusion over what that is.

The most common issue raised is by the farmer who was more lowly stocked during in the 2018/2019 reference period and has significantly increased stock levels for 2020 thus the reduction necessary will be substantially greater than 5% to meet the specific requirements of the scheme.

Also remember that you have to remain in an Environmental Scheme or the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme for the duration of the Measure (30/6/2021). If in any doubt, contact your own Teagasc Adviser or Agricultural Consultant who is familiar with your own system of farming to assist you.

Remember that failure to meet the 5% reduction will result in the recoupment of all monies already paid for this measure and it is extremely difficult to pay back monies already spent!

Always good to end on a positive note with a €50 million Beef Support Package on route with details to follow. Hope that it is simpler than BEAM!

Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. They have offices based in Longford Town (Tel: 043 3341021), Roscommon Town (Tel: 090 6626166) and Castlerea (Tel: 094 9620160). You can find us on Facebook @Teagascroscommon longford and twitter @teagascRNLD..