The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has called for this autumn’s calves that did not meet the age specifications at the time of weighing for the 2022 Dairy Beef Calf Scheme to be deemed eligible for the scheme, if their owners so desire.
ICMSA livestock chair Des Morrison said many interested farmers, usually liquid milk producers, had been unable to avail of the scheme because of the 1 November cut-off date.
This, he said, has emerged as “a glaring anomaly” and one that could, and should, be easily rectified.
“It’s very simple: we want a stipulation that calves born this autumn that were ineligible for the 2021 Dairy Beef Calf scheme will be eligible for the 2022 scheme if the herdowners apply.
“We’re aware of liquid milk producers who calved roughly half their cows in autumn and the balance in spring who are interested in the scheme, but who, due to the present terms and conditions, are currently unable to avail of the option.
“We know where this scheme has to go, certainly upwards from the 40 animals and €20 per head payment currently applicable,” Morrison said.
The ICMSA has said it will be arguing for realistic higher numbers and a minimum payment of €50/head.
“But, for now, the important thing is to get the mechanics of the scheme up and running and then start moving it towards the point where farmers see it as a real commercial option.
“The dairy-beef integration that we all know we need will accelerate as the farmers recognise that.
“But this all starts from making the scheme logical, easy to access and attractive, which is why we need this stipulation for the 2022 scheme,” he said.
Morrison pointed out that farmers with these 2021 ineligible calves will need to know quickly so that they can decide to either hang on to them for the 2022 scheme or sell. He said that possible purchasers need to know for exactly the same reasons.