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Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Animal Welfare, Recording and Breeding Scheme for Suckler Herds ‘Suckler Welfare Scheme’.

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Department of Agriculture,

Fisheries and Food


New Scheme – 100% National fundingFive years (2008-2012)Suckler herd a major source of quality beef productionOverall aim to improve quality of animals produced from suckler herdComplete 7 Measures to receive €80 per cowMajor tie in with ICBF


Who are ICBF?Irish Cattle Breeding FederationRepresent all stakeholders-AI companies, Breed Societies & FarmersAim is to improve genetic quality of Irish cattle with particular emphasis on welfare related traitsScheme will improve data flow into ICBF from more herds to make more rapid progress in breedingMany long term breeding benefits from Scheme


What is the Link between Breeding and Welfare?Event Recording provides information on:- The Sire and Dam of the calf- Live or dead calf at birth- The calving ease- The weaning weight- Docility or temperament


What is the Link between Breeding and Welfare?From the Event Data ICBF can identify:- Easy calving bulls - Bulls with good maternal calving characteristics including docility- Bulls with good growth characteristics- Replacement Suckler Cows with good maternal and growth characteristics

seven measures
Seven Measures
  • Calf tagging and registration
  • Disbudding
  • Castration – not compulsory
  • Minimum calving age
  • Weaning procedure
  • Animal Events
  • Training – by end of year 2.

Measures 1 and 6 covered by Teagasc

(Record keeping and Animal Events recording)


Measure 2 – Disbudding- within 3 weeks- need local anaesthetic if after 2 weeks- late eruptors and polled animals are

exceptionsMeasure 3 – Castration- not compulsory- avoid weaning time ie not within 4 weeks prior to, or two weeks after weaning

Measure 4- Minimum Calving age
  • Average age of 24 months for heifers
  • Heifer calving at less than 22 months not eligible for payment

Measure 5 –Weaning procedure

  • Meal feeding 4 weeks before, and 2 weeks after weaning
  • 1kg per calf per day
  • Graduated weaning ie no abrupt weaning
  • Herds over ten cows – wean in a minimum of 2 groups
  • Calf cannot be sold until two weeks after weaning
Measure 7 – Training & Education

- to be completed by end of year 2

- will cover paperwork elements

- practical demonstration to cover topics relevent to suckler cow production and breeding

- Training on welfare aspects

- Demonstration of ICBF services and Breeding indexes

  • When all the measures have been fulfilled
  • Start in September 2008
  • DAFF will keep paying every month
  • 2 weeks after weaning date - earliest payment date
  • 1% inspections
  • They will piggy-back as far as possible on SPS/DAS inspections.
  • Penalties for non-compliance will use the same weighting system as SPS/DAS inspections
applying for the scheme
Applyingfor the Scheme
  • Pre-printed forms gone out
  • Closing date is 31st March 2008
  • Get the form in before the cows start calving
  • Blank forms in local offices & website
  • If you have sucklers in 2008 and don’t apply, you won’t be allowed in later.
help with the paperwork
Help with the paperwork
  • Critical in year 1 that farmer understands how to complete forms
  • Teagasc & Dept staff will be available for one-to-one consultations in local offices
  • We will advertise these locally
  • Lo-call Number 1890 252 707.
some faq s
Some FAQ’s
  • Accurate Registration and completion of forms through Animal Events
  • Mixed herds can apply on suckler cows only
  • Limit for payment is 100 cows, but all cows (plus any bought in calves) over this to be managed as per Scheme
  • Pedigree bull or cow not necessary
Only new entrants can apply from year 2
  • Can withdraw after weaning –no clawback
  • Cow numbers can vary each year
  • Cows and her calf bought in – not eligible
  • Bought in cow – eligible if she calves in herd
  • If calf dies at birth – eligible, provided calf is registered properly
  • If cow dies, eligible provided she calved
  • Training designed to help farmer to comply

AFurther Option for Suckler Farmers?

- Conventional suckler cow systems have become closer to the requirements of organic production

- lower stocking densities

- lesser dependence on artificial fertilisers

- Expanding market for organic products

- Increased supports for organic operators

- Information Leaflet available tonight

thank you

Thank you

Paul Dillon