The €20m Sheep Improvement Scheme that will operate under the new CAP has been officially opened to applications on by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

The scheme will pay €12/ewe to hill and lowland farmers for carrying out two actions from a list of six, replacing the Sheep Welfare Scheme currently in place.

The reference years for payments will be the three highest reported years for ewe numbers between 2016 and 2021.


The actions have been split into two categories and one action must be chosen from each list to receive payment.

Actions include lameness control, post-mating mineral supplementation and the purchasing of a genotyped ram in lowland flocks, while the actions hill flocks can undertake include meal feeding lambs post-weaning, purchasing a genotyped ram and scanning.

Applications for the scheme opened on Monday, with an application deadline of midnight on Monday 19 December in place.

The first year of the scheme will run from 1 February 2023 to the 31 December 2023.

These payments are an important support to sheep farmers

Speaking on the launch of the scheme, Minister McConalogue stated that the funding will allow farmers to improve their flocks while bettering animal welfare on farm.

“Payment under the scheme will be at a rate of €12 per eligible breeding ewe, which is an increase from the €10 per eligible breeding ewe under the Sheep Welfare Scheme,” the Minister said.

“These payments are an important support to sheep farmers in the delivery of key welfare actions. I am confident that the new €20m Sheep Improvement Scheme will be a success for farmers, as well as driving further improvements in the flock,” he commented.

Those who are experiencing difficulties in logging into their accounts can email the Department at or phone 049-436 8288.

See this week’s Irish Farmers Journal for a more complete breakdown of the Sheep Improvement Scheme.