Some 21,400 applications to the €25m Sheep Welfare Scheme have been received, the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine shows.
The Department has confirmed that it is currently processing the applications received under the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
The original closing date for applications to the scheme was set at January 31, but this was extended to February 3 by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.
Minister Creed had urged any eligible sheep farmers to apply to the scheme prior to the extended deadline.
Prior to announcement of the extension, the IFA had been vocal in its calls for the deadline for applications to the scheme to be pushed out.
The IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey had called for the closing date for applications to the Sheep Welfare Scheme to be extended to February 14.
Lynskey believed an extension would provide a unique opportunity to maximise the number of applicants into a positive sheep scheme that is worth up to €1,300 to the average flock owner.
The IFA National Sheep Chairman believed that Minister Creed and the Department needed to be targeting more than 30,000 sheep farmers and 2.5m ewes with the scheme.
Details of the Scheme
Farmers accepted into the scheme will be provided with a payment of €10/ewe, as long as they comply with the terms and conditions.
It is hoped the scheme will make a positive contribution to sheep welfare with particular regard to the production system and the environment in which Irish sheep production takes place.
Farmers who are accepted into the scheme must choose one option from each category.
*Hill flocks may not choose both mineral supplementation of lambs and meal feeding of lambs post weaning.
The scheme, which is proposed to run for four years, will take the average number of breeding ewes the farmer held in 2014 and 2015, as declared on the sheep census, as the eligible number of ewes for the scheme.