€35,000 suckler breeding initiative launched in the west

A €35,000 suckler breeding initiative has recently been launched by Clare Co-operative Marts.

The “major breeding programme” is aimed at maintaining and enhancing the supply of top quality cattle, through support for suckler farmers in the form of bull premiums and the use of AI straws.

Clare Co-operative Marts are working – in partnership with Dovea AI, Munster AI and Eurogene AI – to promote the use of top quality, five-star, terminal sires within the suckler herd.

It is hoped that the scheme will help to “maintain a vibrant suckler herd in the county and beyond”.

The demand for quality stock is on the increase due to the expansion of the dairy herd and many feeders in the surround areas are finding it difficult to source quality weanlings and stores, according to the co-op.

It believes that the suckler herd in its catchment area has a very good future, provided the focus is on the production of quality stock. The co-operative is also of the opinion that the scheme is complimentary to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).

The scheme envisages providing a subsidy for the purchase of five-star, terminal beef breed bulls – together with providing subsidies towards the use of five-star AI Straws from the scheme partners.

Will you be eligible?

In order to be eligible for the scheme, recipients of either of the above measures must have sold stock to a minimum value of €5,000 through Clare Marts – Ennis, Kilrush, Scariff and Kilfenora – in either 2016 or 2017.

They must also commit to sell stock to a minimum value of €5,000 through the marts in 2018 or 2019.

Applicants must purchase a pedigree-registered, beef breed bull with five stars for terminal index; the bull must also be under 30 months of age and genotyped.

Premiums will be restricted to 20% of the price of the bull or to maximum of €500. The total number of premiums available is 20 and bulls purchased through Clare Marts will be given priority.

When a bull is bought, the buyer is required to retain the bull for 12 months – unless where unavoidable slaughter is necessary.

Meanwhile, farmers may be eligible for up to 20 AI five-star, terminal index, beef breed straws – up to a maximum value of €200, from any one of the participating AI companies.

Farmers will be liable for the insemination portion of the fee, the co-op explained.

Under the scheme, all straws are taken as having a value of €10/unit; there will be up to 2,500 straws on offer. If there is an oversubscription for straws, a draw will take place to determine the recipients, it added.

Farmers looking to buy in to the scheme will have to ensure that no more than 20% of their herd is pedigree. Applications can be made to both strands of the scheme; but, farmers will only receive the AI straws or the bull premium.

A restriction of one application per herd number has been placed on the scheme. The scheme only applies to purchases from January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2018.

Anyone looking for an application form or for more information on the scheme is asked to contact the mart office on: 065-6824411.