The terms and conditions of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Sucklers (BEEP-S) state that from 1 May 2022 weights of cows and calves must be submitted within seven days of collection.

According to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), the optimum timeframe to weigh calves is between 150 and 250 days of age (five to eight months of age).

This, the ICBF says, will give the best indication of dam performance relating to milk yield.

The table below is a useful guide as to the optimum time to weigh based on birth dates. Each cow and their unweaned calf must be weighed on the same day.

Weighing and scales registration

Weights should be submitted no later than 1 November 2021 and mart weights will not suffice for the scheme. Weights can be recorded online through the ICBF website, ICBF weight recording app, farm software and any third-party applications linked to the ICBF database.

Where recording weights online through a computer or app is not an option, you can submit weights through paper forms which can be posted on request by calling 023- 883 2883. Hardcopy forms can also be printed of the ICBF website to facilitate easier recording of weights for subsequent recording.

It is important to note that owned scales must be registered again for the 2022 programme year. Scales can be registered through your ICBF portal. Note you will need the make/model of the scales, the year of purchase and the serial number to register the scales. Where a scales is being borrowed then the owner of the scales will receive a text when it is used for weighing by a third party.

Accuracy of weights

The ICBF recommends that it is good practice in ensuring accuracy of weighing to place a test weight on the platform before you start weighing. Items such as bags or fertiliser or meal where the weight is known will work well.

The advice is to place the item at one end of the platform and read the weight and then repeat the practice for the other end of the scales.

According to ICBF, there should be no more than 1kg difference between both ends of the scales. If the test weight differs from the expected weight or there is a discrepancy of more than 1kg between both ends of the platform then you should contact the rental depot in the case of rented scales or the manufacturer of the scales.

There are a number of practices that should also be adopted to ensure weights are not collected inaccurately due to issues such as animals resting on anti-backing gates, crush bars etc. The table below details useful tips when weighing.