Farmers are being reminded to weigh cows and calves at the right time under the BEEP-S scheme by Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers (ICSA) suckler chair Ger O'Brien.

“Ideally, the time to be weighing cows and calves is when calf is aged between 150 and 250 days; that is between five to eight months.

"The scheme applies only to calves born between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, and calves at the time of weighing must be unweaned.

“Birth weights will not be accepted, nor will cow and calf pairings that are not weighed on the same day.

“Calves must be weighed before creep is introduced and since grass is scarce due to drought-like conditions in many areas, the best job is to weigh calves immediately if you haven’t done so already,” he said.


O’Brien said that scales must also be registered with the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and that the scales number that was issued to you last year will not suffice.

“All farmers participating in the scheme must receive a new scales number from the ICBF to remain within the parameters of the scheme,” he said.

To keep on top of the scheme, Mr O’Brien said farmers should use the opportunity to take a dung sample when they have stock in for weighing.

“Last year, we saw significant problems with farmers unable to acquire the necessary kits to complete the faecal egg testing requirement under the scheme. Likewise, labs had difficulties processing the sheer volume of samples that came in at the last minute.

“The advice is to order your kits early and get the samples done early and off to the lab well in advance of the 1 October deadline.”

Empty cows

The ICSA suckler chair also said it’s time to pull the bull and scan cows after 30 days.

“Empty cows are currently making great money in the marts, so that option could be the smartest move at this point,” he said.