To be eligible for BCR payments you must:

1. Have an eligible farm business. This means you must have claimed and be eligible for payment of:


  • The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) during 2024; or
  • the Scheme that will replace BPS during 2025, 2026 or 2027 (for a BCR payment for 2025, 2026 or 2027.

You must meet this condition each year to be eligible for BCR payment in that year   

2.Have opted-in for BCR online. (If you subsequently opt-out you will not be eligible)

3. Have kept and sent for slaughter eligible animals each year. Animals must meet all the following conditions to be considered eligible:


  • Be either a bull, heifer or steer:

A bull is defined as an uncastrated male bovine animal;

A steer is defined as a castrated male bovine animal;  and

A heifer is defined as a cow that has never been pregnant or given birth to a calf.


  • Been born in Northern Ireland. Animals born outside of Northern Ireland but subsequently moved here and issued with Northern Ireland ear-tags are not eligible.


  • Been accurately recorded on NIFAIS. For further information on NIFAIS, and on the responsibility for herd keepers to record animals please visit our website at Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS). If you have provided information which is incomplete, misleading or inaccurate in relation to an animal then that animal shall be ineligible.


  • Been retained by a farm business for at least 60 days (continuously) within the last 100 days before the slaughter date. 

Further information and examples can be accessed below:

Retention Period Examples 



  • Be slaughtered wholly or mainly for human consumption. The animal must be deemed fit for human consumption when received by the abattoir.


  • Have not been acquired by DAERA for slaughter under disease control legislation (for example due to bovine Tuberculosis).


  • Have been sent for slaughter to an approved slaughterhouse (not a knackery/rendering plant) in Northern Ireland, or exported from Northern Ireland for slaughter outside of Northern Ireland.


  • Have been slaughtered at or below the following age:
    Scheme Year Maximum age at Slaughter
    2024 30 months
    2025 28 months
    2026 27 months
    2027 and onwards 26 months

    The animal must be at or below the maximum age for the relevant scheme year when slaughtered. The maximum age will reduce each scheme year over the four year implementation period, with animals slaughtered after 2027 required to meet this maximum age until scheme closure.


    We will use the dates recorded on NIFAIS for the animal’s birth and slaughter, or export from Northern Ireland for slaughter, to decide if they have met this eligibility condition.


    You do not need to be sure that you are eligible for BCR payments before you opt-in. We will consider your eligibility after you opt-in. If we determine that you are not eligible, you will not receive a financial penalty.



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