Deadline approaches for beef support scheme

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Eligible farmers and crofters are reminded to apply to the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS) before the deadline of December 31.

The scheme provides support to specialist beef producers and has an annual budget of €38 million for beef calves born on the Scottish mainland and €6.6 million for claims from the Scottish islands.

Support is available for calves provided they are at least 75 per cent beef bred, born on a Scottish holding and kept there for 30 days. This means that animals born on or after December 2, 2018, will not be eligible until next year.

There is no limit to the number of claims eligible farmers and crofters can make by December 31. The scheme rate per animal will be determined by the total number of eligible animals claimed.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: ‘The beef calf scheme is vital to Scotland’s beef sector, particularly given the higher costs of producing beef from the suckler herd.

‘This year, every penny available under this scheme for those producing suckled beef calves will be needed given the rise in prices for straw and other inputs and the challenging forage conditions driven by the rainfall shortage this summer.

‘This coupled support payment helps maintain our iconic beef sector, which produces sustainable beef based on Scotland’s natural ability to grow grass. I would urge farmers and crofters to take advantage of this support.’