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HomeBeef€20/calf National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme: What you need to know
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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€20/calf National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme: What you need to know

The DAFM (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) has announced the opening of its one-year voluntary €5 million National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme 2023.

According to a DAFM spokesperson, the National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme’s objective is to:

  • Support decision-making on farms through “better quality” data on herd performance;
  • Increase the economic and environmental efficiency of beef from the dairy herd;
  • Facilitate further the integration of the dairy and beef sectors by providing support for farmers who are rearing progeny from the dairy herd.

The scheme is:

  • A successor to similar schemes in 2021 and 2022;
  • Carrying a budget of €5 million;
  • Funded from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve;
  • Open to all farmers rearing progeny from the dairy herd for beef systems who commit to completing for mandatory action required within the duration of the programme;
Participants are required to:
  • Weigh a minimum of five eligible calves;
  • Submit weighing data to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF). From May 1st, 2023, all data should be submitted within seven days of weighing until November 1st, 2023;
  • Apply through until 23.59 May 2nd, 2023 – either themselves or a FAS-approved advisor/agent authorised and appointed to act on their behalf. The DAFM will accept applications after this date, but late penalties will apply at a rate of 1% deductions per working day in respect of the National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme. Note: The submission of a valid application does not guarantee entry to the scheme – the DAFM will notify you of the outcome of your application for scheme participation.
Who qualifies? You can apply if you:
  • Are the owner of an active herd number with Herd Owner status;
  • Submit a BISS application in 2023 and
  • Had a male calf of a dairy breed OR a male or female calf of a beef breed sire born to a dairy breed dam in your herd.

Eligible calves must:

  • Be dairy-beef bred calves (DAFM has published an eligible breed list) born between July 1st, 2022 and June 30th, 2023 (Only one payment will be made per calf);
  • Be at least 12 weeks of age at the time of weighing and have been registered on the holding they are being weighed on for a minimum of 10 days before the date of weighing;
  • Is a male calf of a dairy breed and/or a male or female calf sired by a beef breed sire born to a  dairy breed dam;
  • Be in your herd for at least ten days before weighing;
  • Alive at the time of weighing;
  • Tagged and registered in accordance with rules;
  • Are in the ownership and possession of the applicant and maintained on the holding.
Actions you need to take to qualify:

Only one action under the scheme – weighing and submission of weights to the ICBF:

  • You must weigh a minimum of 5 eligible calves and submit the weights to the ICBF;
  • Calves must be at least 12-weeks-old at the time of weighing
  • All weights should be submitted within seven days of weighing and before November 1st, 2023;
  • These actions must be completed in full to be eligible for any payment under the programme.
Payment rate:
  • According to the DAFM, the payment rate is up to €20 per eligible calf weighed, subject to a maximum of 50 calves, and will be issued in December 2023. DAFM may apply a liner reduction in the event of an oversubscription;
  • Grant aid of up to €1,000 is available per farmer.
Weighing calves:

There are two options available to herdowners for the recording of weight data as part of scheme.

  • Option 1 – A rental model, whereby participants rent scales from an approved field service agent to undertake the dairy-beef weight recording process, or :
  • Option 2 – An owned, borrowed or third-party service model, whereby participants have access to a set of scales, and are availing of these scales to undertake the dairy-beef weight-recording process.

Note for readers:

This article is a summary of some of the terms and conditions of the scheme – you can find a 21-page document from the DAFM (terms and conditions) via this link.

The National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme is different from the National Beef Welfare Scheme, as reported by That’s Farming in this news article.

See more farming news on That’s Farming

See more from farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane

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