The ICMSA has welcomed the opening of the Dairy Beef Calf Programme by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine.
Preisident, Pat McCormack, said the programme is a “decisive step in the right direction, but would clearly need to be expanded and developed in future years”.
The rate of €20 per head is payable on dairy-beef calves born after January 1st, 2021, which are weighed.
The minimum age of weighing is between 12-weeks-old and farmers must submit weights to ICBF by November 1st, 2021.
Furthermore, farmers must apply by the closing date of April 26th, 2021. Payment is subject to a maximum of 20 calves per farmer. The scheme is available to dairy farmers and farmers who purchase dairy calves.
According to the farm group, given the dairy herd’s growth, there is an increased availability of dairy-beef calves, and the programme recognises its argument for “better integration” between the dairy and beef sectors.
Popular and possibly over-subscribed
The ICMSA president noted that with the “returns from dairy beef production more positive than suckler beef production, it was in everyone’s best interest to develop a strong dairy-beef calf programme”.
“ICMSA had proposed a more ambitious programme which we still believe will need to be implemented.”
“But today does represent progress. This announcement is a welcome start by the Department, who have already indicated a willingness to develop this programme in future years.”
“It is a relatively short turnaround to the closing date of April 26th, 2021. Farmers should consider their options and make their application before the closing date.”
“We think that this scheme will be popular and possibly over-subscribed, so the Minister must ensure that sufficient funding is made available to keep the payment of €20 per head”, concluded Mr McCormack.