16 APRIL 2018

ICSA suckler chairman John Halley has called for flexibility around the terms of the BDGP in recognition of the extreme difficulties posed by the fodder crisis. “Farmers may inadvertently miss out on BDGP targets such as the 20% four and five star rule due to having to sell heifers because of fodder scarcity.

This measure requires farmers to reach a target of having 20% of female stock over 16 months of age achieving four or five star ratings on the replacement index on 31st October 2018. While there is a tolerance of 90%, any farmer who falls below that target gets an effective penalty of 40%.”

“ICSA believes that where a farmer can show that failure to meet the target is linked to the long hard winter and fodder crisis, there should be a derogation from the penalty. This could have arisen where female stock were sold during the first half of 2018 or where an animal was disposed of at a knackery. In cases where such animals would have made the difference to the targets, then the penalties should be waived.”