Minister McConalogue announces opening of €265m suckler and beef support schemes

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. today announced the opening of two new support measures for the suckler and beef sectors:

  • The €260m Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) under the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP)
  • The €5m National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme 2023.

The SCEP is the successor to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), has a budget of €260m over five years, and is co-funded by the EU under the CSP. The SCEP rewards participant farmers with a payment equivalent to €150/cow on the first 22 cows and €120/cow on subsequent cows.


The National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme 2023 is a successor to similar schemes in 2021 and 2022, has a budget of €5m, and is funded from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

Applications for both measures can be lodged through with a closing date of 2nd May for the Dairy Beef Scheme and 22nd May for the SCEP.

Commenting on the opening of the measures, Minister McConalogue said:

”As Minister, I have consistently advocated for and secured vital supports to make suckler and beef farming more efficient and competitive. Our suckler and beef farmers are the best in the world and I will continue to stand behind them and back them.

“I am supporting our farm families to help them make their enterprises more economically and environmentally efficient. This is a key focus for me because the output of those farms accounted for €3 billion worth of exports to more than 70 markets  worldwide in 2022.”

Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP)

The SCEP targets bovine emissions through enhanced use of genetics, genomics, and performance metrics. It will operate as a five-year contract. The scheme, which is subject to final approval by the European Commission, is structured around four mandatory actions which must be undertaken by participants in each year of the scheme. These actions relate to the replacement strategy for both dams and sires, genotyping, weighing of suckler cow/calf pairs and data recording.

Referring to the rationale for the scheme and its strategic context, Minister McConalogue said:

“A key policy goal of Food Vision 2030 – the overall strategy for the agri-food sector – is to increase environmental sustainability within the sector. Data from the BDGP demonstrated that it improved environmental and productive efficiency with resultant benefits for farm-level competitiveness.

“Our suckler sector is the best in the world and I am confident that SCEP will further enhance our reputation on the global stage. The SCEP will build on the gains achieved through the BDGP and the more recent exchequer funded Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme. The commitments that farmers are asked to make under this scheme reflect the need to have reliable, evidence-based data. We need this data to prove reduced emissions from livestock production and meet climate targets.”


Membership of the Bord Bia SBLAS is a requirement for participation in this scheme and participants need to engage early with Bord Bia to ensure that they meet this requirement.

National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme 2023

Participants are required to weigh a minimum of five eligible calves and submit details to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation. From 1st May 2023, all data should be submitted within seven days of weighing until 1st November 2023. The payment rate is up to €20 per eligible calf weighed, subject to a maximum of 50 calves.

Minister McConalogue commented:

”I am delighted to secure funding from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve for this very important scheme. A successful dairy beef strategy will improve the resilience of the sector to future shocks, with additional benefits for calf health and welfare. In recent years, beef from the dairy herd has contributed an increasing proportion of national production”.

“There is strong potential for greater integration of dairy and beef production systems, particularly the role of dairy beef in providing a new diversification option for beef farmers. This year, I have increased to 50 the number of eligible calves which farmers will be paid for weighing.”


Further information

The full terms and conditions are available at the following links: – Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) (


A SCEP webinar will be held on 4th April from 1900 – 2030

A programme of in-person information sessions has been scheduled where speakers from the Department, the ICBF and Bord Bia will present and explain the new SCEP. The information sessions will commence at 8pm but officials from the Department will be available from 6pm at the venues and dates below to assist farmers with their SCEP application if they so wish.



Locations for the nationwide schedule of information sessions are listed below:


Date Location Venue
21/03/2023 Mullingar Mullingar Park Hotel, Dublin Road,

Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

23/03/2023 Tuam The Ard Rí House Hotel, Miltown Road,

Tuam, Co. Galway

28/03/2023 Ennis Treacys West County Hotel, Limerick Road,

Ennis, Co. Clare.

29/03/2023 Kilkenny Newpark Hotel, Castlecomer Road,


30/03/2023 Carrick-on-Shannon Landmark Hotel,

Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.

18/04/2023 Bantry Westlodge Hotel, Bantry,

County Cork.

20/04/2023 Tralee Brandon Hotel, Princess Street,

Tralee, Co. Kerry

02/05/2023 Letterkenny Mount Errigal Hotel, Ballyraine,

Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

03/05/2023 Ballina Great National Hotel Ballina, N26 Dublin Road,

Ballina, Co. Mayo.






Caption for photos: Minister Charlie McConalogue on his farm.