Suckler farmers can opt to implement a pre-weaning meal feeding programme or a vaccination programme under the BEEP scheme.
This additional action, with a payment rate of €30/calf weighed to a maximum of 100 calves, will improve the health and welfare of suckler calves at weaning time, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
In this article, we will focus on the requirements associated with a pre-weaning meal feeding programme.
Requirements, as stated by the DAFM:
- Meal feeding must commence for a period of 4 weeks pre-weaning and 2 weeks post-weaning to reduce the stress on calves at weaning time and record action;
- Calves must be supplemented with compound feeding stuffs containing appropriate minerals and vitamins.”
- Meal purchases receipts (or evidence of use of own farm-produced cereals) must be retained on-farm and made available for inspection;
- Participants may feed purchased compound feed containing minerals and vitamins or straights (feed materials);
- If straights (feed materials) are being fed, participants should consult their advisor or nutritionist to ensure that a correct level of nutrition is being achieved;
- Straights (feed materials) must be supplemented with a suitable complementary mineral feeding stuff;
- If two or more straights are being mixed together on-farm, for example using a mixer wagon or loading shovel, then participants must register with DAFM as a home-mixer;
- All feeding stuffs (including mineral feeds) must be sourced from registered or approved feed business operators;
- Minerals must be fed in accordance with the instructions given on the label. “The level of supplementation must be an adequate rate to provide the required level of nutrition.”
- Participants should supplement in accordance with manufacturers label recommendations;
- Participants will be required to retain sales documents for any cow/calves sold, which along with the feed delivery dockets and date of weaning, will “verify” the calf was fed four weeks pre-weaning and two weeks post-weaning;
- Applicants must record the date of weaning of each animal that is being submitted for payment;
- Where groups of calves are weaned on different dates, record the different weaning dates for each group.
Terms and conditions of the programme are available here.
Applications must be made online and the application window will remain open May 15th, 2020.
In the next segment of this article series, we will focus on a vaccination programme as part of BEEP.