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New climate strategy: capping suckler cow numbers

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that it plans to prevent Irish farmers from increasing their suckler cow numbers under the newly proposed “Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme.”

“The scheme will prevent a participant increasing their suckler cow numbers over the course of the contract,” said the Department speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, although they did say that some exceptions will be made for very small herd size increases.

The exact details of the exceptional cases are yet to be finalised.

The new scheme will be linked to the all-important Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.

“Essentially, it’s a quota on suckler cows,” said Adam Woods, beef editor of the Irish Farmers Journal.

“If you join the scheme, you can’t go up in numbers for the next five years.

“Financially, suckler farmers have no choice but to apply for this financial support. Suckling is an extremely low-margin business which needs supports to survive, so they will have no choice but to apply for the new programme.”

He went on to add that this scheme would “curtail [suckler farmers] from growing their business in the next few years and essentially apply a stranglehold on the farm to ensure that suckler cow numbers decline.”

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