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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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SCEP: How many cow & calf pairs must I weigh?

Action 4 SCEP – Weighing and submission of data to the ICBF

Intertwining some measures from the previous CAP’s BDGP and BEEP-S, the DAFM’s new €260m Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) revolves around five main actions.

Readers should note that the new SCEP should not be confused with the National Beef Welfare Scheme 2023, which, as previously reported by That’s Farming in this news article, is BEEP-S’ replacement in the new programme.

Meanwhile, the SCEP is BDGP’s replacement and, according to the DAFM, aims to “provide support to beef farmers to improve the environmental sustainability of the national beef herd”.

In this news article on That’s Farming, we looked at the three primary eligibility requirements relating to SBLAS membership, submitting a BISS application and calving at least 50% of your reference number annually.

SCEP – 5 actions

The scheme’s objective is to “build on the gains delivered in recent years through the BDGP and BEEP by improving the genetic merit of the Irish suckler herd”.

Once you are accepted into the scheme, you are required to carry out five main actions as follows:

  1. Eligible bull/ eligible AI, as explained in this news article;
  2. Female replacement strategy, as outlined in this news article;
  3. Genotyping, as detailed in this news article;
  4. Weighing and submission of weights to ICBF;
  5. Calving details and surveys (5A and 5B).

Separate articles on the remaining measures to follow.

Action 4 – Weighing and submission of weights to the ICBF

For the purpose of this news article, as part of a new mini-series, That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, takes a look at action number four, which revolves around weighing and submission of weights to the ICBF.

Under this measure, which previous BEEP-S participants will be familiar with, applicants will be required to weigh at least 80% of eligible animals born on the holding of the yearly reference number in each scheme year and their dams and submit weights to ICBF.

Yearly reference number:

The yearly reference is defined as the reference number declared by the applicant for each scheme year.

According to the scheme’s terms and conditions, it cannot exceed a farmer’s programme reference and cannot be less than 80% of the declared yearly reference from the previous year.

Each live calf must be unweaned and weighed with its dam on the applicant’s holding on the same day, the terms and conditions state.

Eligible calf:

  • Belongs to a beef breed (born out of an eligible suckler cow and is by a beef breed bull);
  • Part of a herd intended for rearing calves for meat production;
  • Is in the ownership and possession of the applicant maintained on the holding;
  • Has been tagged and registered within 27 days of both.

Eligible suckler cow:

  • Belongs to a beef breed or is sired by a beef breed;
  • Is not used to supply milk commercially;
  • Rears a calf by suckling;
  • Part of a herd intended for rearing calves for meat production;
  • In the ownership and possession of the applicant and maintained on the holding;
  • Is properly tagged, registered and recorded;
  • Is inseminated either through natural service or AI by a bull of a beef breed;
  • Gives birth to an eligible calf (dead or alive) in the applicant’s herd, which is then tagged and registered to that cow.
How many have I to weigh?

For example, if a farmer has a 2023 yearly reference number of 10 and has 20 calves born between July 1st, 2022 and June 30th, 2023 (scheme year 1), they are required to weigh 4 dam/calf pairs.

If a farmer has a 2023 yearly reference of 10 and has 10 calves born between July 1st, 2022 and June 30th, 2023, they will have to weigh 8 dam/calf pairs.

Moreover, for scheme year 1, these dates must be submitted to ICBF by November 1st, 2023.

Under action four, if a case arises where a calf dies before five months of age or its dam, you must record this on AIM, and the 80% does not include such pairs.

All calves being submitted for weighing must:

  • Have been  born  in  the  herd  within  each scheme year;
  • Must be eligible – see definition above;
  • Be in the ownership of and possession of the applicant since birth and maintained on the holding – must be alive at the time of weighing – see the note above;
  • Be submitted within 7 days of weighing and no later than 5:30 pm on November 1st, every year;
  • Virtual: You can record weights through ICBF’s weight recording app, farm software and any third-party apps that link to ICBF’s database. Postal: Send forms by post by the above time and date.

Valid calf weights are from the calf being a minimum of 50-days-old to the weaning date of the calf.

Calves (and their dams) that are weaned should not be weight recorded, the DAFM has stated.

Payment rate and non-compliance

As is the case with actions 1, 2 and 3, this action accounts for 20% of a farmer’s total SCEP payment.

If a farmer weighs less than 80% of the cow/calf pairs of the yearly reference number validly in any scheme year, it will result in no payment for the weighing record measure, plus an additional 10% penalty for a year in which the breach occurs, the scheme’s terms and conditions state.

That’s Farming will publish a separate article on the process for recording weight data as part of SCEP.

Other farming news articles on That’s Farming:
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