Dairy calf weighing scheme

Participants in the dairy calf weighing scheme must weigh calves and submit weights to the ICBF before 1 November 2021. The optimal time for weighing calves is around five months. You must weigh a minimum of five dairy cross calves to be eligible for payment. The maximum number of calves an applicant will be allowed is 20. The payment rate is €20/head, so the maximum payment in 2021 is €400.

Calves must be in the applicant’s herd 10 days before weighing and must be a minimum of 12 weeks of age before they can be weighed. Only calves born in 2021 are eligible for payment. Weights must be loaded onto the ICBF database within seven days of weighing and the scales must be registered with ICBF prior to weighing.


Last week’s rain and continued warm temperature will likely see an increase in lungworm burdens on pastures. After the long dry spell in July, worm burdens at pasture will have been low, so young cattle will have had very little exposure to them. A sudden burst in worm activity at pasture will put these animals at a greater risk of respiratory issues.

Spring and autumn-born calves should be herded closely over the next few weeks for any signs of worm infection. Lungworm or hoose will be more of a problem during damp and warm conditions, so watch out for signs such as cattle panting or the tell-tale harsh cough. This will be easily picked up when cattle are being moved from field to field, or when feeding animals concentrates. If you are in any doubt, calves should be treated for lungworm infection. Be careful around what product you use.

Avermectin-based products will give a very fast total kill and in cases where there is severe infection, this can lead to a lot of stress coughing up worms for a few days. In some cases, this can lead to the onset of pneumonia. In cases where you think that the infection is bad, a levamisole-based drench will be a better option. While this drench will give a more gradual kill, it won’t be as stressful in cases where there is a high burden of worms. Get veterinary advice on the best product to use on your farm.

BEAM figures

There are over 16,000 BEAM participants who opted to defer their period for nitrogen reduction from the original period of 1 July 2020-30 June 2021, to 1 January 2021 – 31 December 2021. Problems arose the last time where action wasn’t taken early enough on reducing the stocking rate. It’s very important that you sit down and take a look at where your stocking rate is at. The likelihood of any changes to the scheme are very slim at this stage and farmers will have to pay the money back if the reduction doesn’t take place by 31 December.

Cull cows are a great trade in marts, and for early calving herds, scanning could be an option to offload any empty cows. There are just four and a half months left to reduce your nitrogen output, the earlier you take action, the easier it will be.