A new dairy beef welfare scheme is set to be brought in under the proposed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) National Strategic Plan for Ireland – with details of this scheme now brought to light.

Developed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) for approval by the EU, the proposed scheme has been outlined to sector stakeholders in recent days.

The scheme will form a key part of the proposed CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) for Ireland, according to documents seen by Agriland.

Titled the “Dairy Beef Welfare Measure”, this successor to the Dairy Beef Pilot aims to implement some of the actions identified in AgClimatise for the dairy sector.

Proposals put forward by the department highlight that a combination of the use of sexed semen and genotyping aims to reduce the number of low-value calves born. In addition the use of high Dairy Beef Index (DBI) beef bulls will “improve the quality of calves born in the dairy herd and facilitate greater integration into the national beef herd”, the department says.

The DAFM document recognises live weight as an “important indicator of welfare”. In addition, targeted parasite control and forage analysis can improve welfare through better use of anthelminthics and better quality diets”.

The scheme consists of two measures, as well as two training courses:

  1. Young Calf Measure – only dairy farmers (numbering around 17,000 herds) will be eligible for this measure;
  2. Growing calf measure – both dairy farmers with a beef enterprise and beef farmers (numbering about 83,000 herds) will be eligible for this measure.

For the Young Calf Measure, applicants must choose at least one action from Category A and one action from Category B, the proposals say.

Young Calf Measure
Category ASexed semen
Category BHigh DBI AI
Beef stock bull

Meanwhile, under the Growing Calf Measure, applicants will also be given a list of different actions and told to choose at least one action from Category A and one action from Category B.

Growing Calf Measure
Category ACalf weighing of under one-year-olds
Weighing of dairy beef animals under two years old
Category BParasite control
Forage quality

Further details on this scheme are expected in due course, subject to EU approval.