The €5m Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme for 2023 is now open for farmers to apply, with increased capacity for eligible calves.
This year’s scheme, which is changing to reward breeders for using high-dairy-index sires in the dairy herd, was announced by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue on Monday 20 March.
The payment rate in 2023 is unchanged at €20 per eligible calf weighed but farmers can now claim payments for a maximum of 50 calves.
Last year’s scheme rewarded farmers with a payment of €20 for every calf weighed up to a maximum of 40 head.
Farmers are required to weigh a minimum of five eligible calves and submit details to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).
From 1 May 2023, all data should be submitted within seven days of weighing until 1 November 2023.
This scheme is funded from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) and was announced alongside the the €260m Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP).
Applications for both measures can be lodged through agfood.ie. However, closing dates differ, with with a deadline of 2 May for the Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme.
“A successful dairy beef strategy will improve the resilience of the sector to future shocks, with additional benefits for calf health and welfare. In recent years, beef from the dairy herd has contributed an increasing proportion of national production,” Minister McConalogue said.
There is strong potential, he argued, for greater integration of dairy and beef production systems, particularly the role of dairy beef in providing a new diversification option for beef farmers.