SCEP Scheme opens

Applications open this week for the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP), which will pay farmers €150/cow on the first 22 cows and €120/cow thereafter.

Yes there are some hoops to jump through, but nothing too onerous. Applications must be submitted on by 5.30pm on 22 May. It’s a relatively simple application process, with the Department of Agriculture calculating the most beneficial reference figure for you.

The important thing is to get your application in and the figures can be queried after if needed. The Department has indicated that deadlines will be adhered to a lot more in SCEP.

All genomic samples must be submitted by 30 November and all weights must be submitted within 7 days of weighing, with the last weights to be uploaded by 1 November. The quality assurance scheme participation is the biggest change in SCEP, and applicants need to be fully quality assured by 16 Oct 2023.

Farmers should get their applications in as soon as possible, as there will likely be some delays in getting approved given the volume of new applications there will be.

Grazing conditions

With heavy rain during the week and a mixed forecast, cows and calves have been housed on many farms while weanlings have been left out. If housing young calves, don’t limit straw usage.

Calves need a clean dry bed free from any low lying draughts. Make sure all calves are settled and sucking once housed. Meal should be fed to cows once housed, especially if silage quality is only average.

Feeding 2kg of a weanling or finishing ration will help avoid body condition loss and also help maintain milk yield. If weanlings remain outdoors, try and move them to drier fields with shelter.

Moving into smaller groups may also work, and will help to minimise damage. If cows and calves have to remain outdoors, take precautions against tetany. A bolus or feeding meal with cal-mag are the best forms of prevention.

While licks are handy, intakes can be variable and you have no way of knowing how much magnesium is going into cows.


Cows should receive their annual booster for BVD and Lepto at least 2 weeks prior to the onset of breeding. For bought-in animals or maiden heifers that require both courses of a two shot programme, the primary shot should be administered about six weeks prior to breeding, with the booster administered four weeks after that.

It’s important that the bull receives his booster shot also, and that bought-in bulls are given an initial shot and the booster shot. Vaccinations should be timed with other management tasks to avoid unnecessary handling of animals.

Farm Tech talks SCEP special show

On Friday evening, 30 March, we will have a Farm Tech Talks show concentrating on the new SCEP scheme. Any questions can be sent to and we will answer them during the show.

We will go through the details, payment rates and what to watch in the new scheme. I’ll have more details next week.