CAP messages

The last in our series of Winter CAP events took place in Mullingar on Tuesday night. The resounding sentiment from each of the events is that there is still a lot of confusion around the new changes which are coming in 2023.

Three big messages I took from all the events were:

  • Check your space for nature % as soon as you can. For many this figure is above what they expected. Every farmer needs to check what this figure is. If you have an account you can do this through a series of simple clicks, or your adviser will be able to check it for you.
  • There is a lot of chat around how the value of your entitlements will change. The most important figure is your entitlement value and you can check what your 2023 payment will be by checking online on the CAP calculator.
  • The Department has confirmed there won’t be any changes in relation to the requirement to join the Bord Bia quality assurance scheme to be eligible to join the new Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP). If you are not already signed up then do so now, as there will likely be a big queue.
  • Applying for the Basic Payment Scheme on an annual basis in April/May used to take minimal effort, with over 80,000 farmers clicking the “no changes” option. This meant that the application only took a matter of minutes.

    Things are a lot different in 2023 and this option for a quick application is no longer available.

    Applying for the eco-scheme is very important, as this will make up a significant payment on a lot of drystock farms. The BPS payment is one of the biggest income streams that will come onto your farm in 2023, so make sure to give it the time it deserves.

    The Department application system will open in the next few weeks. Advisers are expected to be inundated with queries for appointments, so make one early.

    Scour prevention

    While it’s early in the calving season, a few tips and preventatives could help reduce time and labour required tending to sick calves. Number one is colostrum.

    Adequate colostrum is key to setting the calf up to be able to fend off any disease challenges in the next few weeks, including scour and pneumonia. Aim to get three litres into calves within two hours of birth. The sooner the better.

    Colostrum from its mother is best and is a must if vaccinating for scour. If a calf has had any assistance or pull, it’s best to feed it in case its delayed getting to its feet.

    The calf shouldn’t be forgotten after this, and constant vigilance is required in the first few days of life to make sure a calf is up and sucking. Look for healthy signs like a good stretch when they get up. Lots of bedding is also essential, preferably straw to give that nesting effect.

    Calves need a warm dry bed. Shed temperature needs to be between 10-15 degrees for new born calves, with no low level draughts. Vaccination has a role to play on some farms. Hygiene is very important around calving time.

    A good tip is to place a footbath outside the calving shed so you aren’t bringing disease into susceptible newborn calves. Keep two stomach tubes, one for colostrum for newborn calves and one for sick calves.