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Beef Efficiency Scheme payouts on way to farms

NFU Scotland vice-president Martin Kennedy
NFU Scotland vice-president Martin Kennedy

Farmers participating in the Scottish Government’s £45million Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES) are likely to receive their first support payments this month.

The scheme, which has been rejected by many farmers, was launched in 2014 in a bid to improve the efficiency of the Scottish beef herd.

Farmers union NFU Scotland says it has been told that farmers and crofters participating in the scheme will receive their first payments this month.

It also said scheme participants would be visited by a farm adviser to help them carry out a carbon audit of their farm in the coming weeks and months.

This is a key requirement of the scheme, which also requires producer to record calf performance data and tissue tag calves.

The union’s vice-president, Martin Kennedy, who undertook his carbon audit this week, said: “It was positive to have an adviser come to the farm and walk me through the carbon audit on the computer. Together we looked at the performance of both inputs and outputs and this let me see where I wanted to make a change.

“It’s important to stress that while the scheme requires me to produce three management changes, I don’t have to achieve them as part of the scheme and only one of these has to be produced during the carbon audit.”

He said farmers should view the carbon audit as an opportunity to look closely at their businesses.

“Like others I was frustrated with the scheme last year when I received tissue sampling tags long after I had sold the calves in question, but separating the calf sampling issue from the advisory services portion of the scheme I was generally happy with how my visit went,” added Mr Kennedy.

“As farmers we are always looking at what we can improve, but we don’t always have someone on- farm to bounce ideas off.”

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