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Coveney Announces €35 Million Payments to Beef & Sheep Farmers under the Beef Genomics and the Grassland Sheep Schemes

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D., announced that payments under the Beef Genomics Scheme and the Grassland Sheep Scheme will commence this week with payments of almost €35 million issuing to farmers in the beef and sheep sectors.

The Beef Genomics Scheme was introduced this year and is fully funded by the National Exchequer. The Minister said.” I am delighted that in excess of €20 million will be paid out to almost 30,000 suckler farmers under this innovative Scheme”, the Minister said.

The use of genomics by suckler farmers will open up a whole new process for the selection of the best breeding replacement stock as the databank grows. The Minister said “This initiative will help to build a training population that can lay an initial foundation to place Ireland firmly to the forefront globally in beef genetics, enhance our reputation as a world leader in sustainable food production, increase the carbon efficiency of the sector and from a marketing perspective, and help to reinforce the uniqueness of our offering on EU and world markets.”.

The Minister added that “suckler farmers  will in future  be able to use the genetic information garnered under the Scheme to more accurately predict the likely outcomes of the calves based on their parentage, in terms  of their likely quality, docility, susceptibility to illness, weight gain, confirmation etc. This technology can lead to a significant improvement in the quality of the individual and national herd.

The Minister also added “building on the success of the 2014 programme, I am also proposing the roll-out of a six year Beef Genomics scheme as part of the RDP with an overall budget of some €300m. This scheme is currently the subject of detailed discussion with the European Commission with a view to its early agreement and roll-out in 2015”.

The Minister also confirmed that payments worth €15 million under the 2014 Grassland Sheep Scheme would begin issuing to the farmers concerned as and from Wednesday, 10 December. Minister Coveney said that this funding would “provide a very important and timely boost to support incomes in the sheep sector”.

Sheep meat production is the fourth most important animal enterprise in Ireland and a significant indigenous industry on over 40,000 farms. The supply of lambs is a key and fundamental element underpinning the sheep and lamb processing industry. Irish sheep meat is seen as a product with a healthy image, natural and environmentally friendly. This is a hugely valuable export-orientated part of the Irish agri-food sector, supplying a high-value product to consumer markets throughout Europe.  The industry is worth around €250 million to the Irish economy and over two thirds of the product is exported.

Note for Editors

Beef Genomics Scheme

This Scheme was introduced in 2014 for one year only and which, in addition to mandatory participation in the Beef Data Programme, required the following actions;

  • Any stock bull must be genotyped.
  • At least 15% of the cows must be genotyped.
  • All calves must be tested for BVD and any persistently infected  (PI)calves removed to the knackery within specified timeframes

Payment of €40 is being made per calved cow to eligible applicants.

Grassland Sheep Scheme

The following are the rates of payment under the 2014 Grassland Sheep Scheme.

Land Category

Area payable

Rate per hectare

Mountain Type Grazing

0 to 20 hectares


Mountain Type Grazing

20 to 84 hectares


Other land (lowland)

0 to 30 hectares


 View Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 192/2014 (pdf 670Kb) 

Date Released: 09 December 2014