The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, ICSA Ireland, says good weaning standards adopted under the now-defunct Suckler Welfare Scheme must not be allowed to slide, despite the abolition of financial supports.
“It seems that a certain amount of farmers are abandoning the principles of good weaning practice recently. I have seen evidence of it at marts with calves making a lot of noise because they haven’t been properly weaned,” said ICSA suckler committee chair Dermot Kelleher.
“Furthermore, I reckon those calves that could be guaranteed to be weaned and on meal were worth an additional €100 to €150 in the sales ring.”
Kelleher said farmers must recognise that proper weaning practice is beneficial for the calf, for themselves and everyone in the supply chain, including live exporters, who report far fewer instances of illnesses in calves that have been correctly weaned.
“The suckler industry has seen huge improvements as a result of the Suckler Welfare Scheme, and despite its abolition last year I would call on all farmers to make sure they do not abandon the beneficial farm management principles behind that improvement,” Kelleher added.
Image: Limousin suckler herd. Photo O’Gorman Photography