On the back of growing interest in contract arrangements between farmers to rear calves and weanlings, Teagasc has developed new agreement templates.

The templates have been developed in conjunction with solicitor Diarmaid O Cathain, collaborative farming consultant Ben Roche and Teagasc collaborative farming specialist Gordon Peppard.

Contract calf-rearing arrangement

This template agreement provides for the contract rearing for calves greater than 10 days old up to weaning.

It is predominantly intended for, but not restricted to, the rearing of bull calves from the dairy herd.

At the end of the rearing period, the calves can be retained on the contract-rearing farm, returned to the dairy farm or sold to a third party.

Teagasc said in removing bull calves from the dairy farm at 10+ days of age, it removed the need for additional facilities and labour requirement.

Contract weanling-rearing agreement

Similar to the contract calf-rearing template agreement, this agreement outlines that the calves, once weaned, will remain on the contract rearer’s holding for an additional period for further rearing.

The length of this additional period is agreed between the animal owner and the contract rearer in advance.

During the rearing period, the animal owner pays an agreed fee per head, per day, to the contract rearer and the animal owner retains ownership of the animals at the end of the rearing period.


The agreement templates can be accessed here.

There are four key areas to be addressed during the formation of these agreements, according to Teagasc:

  • Outline - animal owner and contract rearer’s details.
  • Duration - establish the commencement and end date of the agreement.
  • Payment - agreed payment rate per head per day and decide on method of payment.
  • Terms and conditions - establish a management protocol of the animals for the duration of the agreement.
  • Opportunities

    Teagasc collaborative farming specialist Gordon Peppard said the agreements provide an opportunity for non-dairy farming enterprises to devise a different system of production, with the certainty of a guaranteed payment per day in return for their efforts.

    “This allows them to better plan their cashflow and they are not dependant on the sale of stock on two, or three, main selling days in the year,” Peppard said.

    “For the dairy farmer, they have the advantage of removing a number of animals from their holding at an early age, reducing the need for additional facilities, labour, etc, and providing them the opportunity to allocate more time and resources to the main cow herd.”

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