A key deadline under the Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS) has been extended to Friday, October 13.

The Department of Agriculture has written to farmers informing them that the deadline for the parasite control (faecal egg count) action has been extended by almost two weeks.

Originally, as set out under the terms and conditions for lowland flocks, this action was to be completed between June 1 and September 30 of this year.

SWS provides support of €10/ewe to farmers undertaking defined actions which make a positive contribution to flock welfare.

As part of the scheme, participants with lowland flocks must carry out a minimum of two faecal egg counts per annum on lambs to establish worm burden. The samples from each test are to be sent to a Department of Agriculture approved lab for counting.

According to the department, this enables applicants to then make an informed decision in relation to a dosing regime. It also means that the treatment of internal parasites is carried out on a targeted basis.

Should you have any queries in relation to the Sheep Welfare Scheme, contact the department by phone at: 076-1064420 or e-mail at: [email protected].

No plans to increase payment level

There are no plans on the horizon to increase the level of payment under the Sheep Welfare Scheme, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

“The details of the Sheep Welfare Scheme, including the amount of payment to participants, were approved by the European Commission in 2016.

The payment rates are based on the agreed costings underlying the actions to be undertaken in the scheme, and an increase in payments would thus require changes to the actions currently being undertaken by farmers.

“Any such changes to the details of the scheme would require the agreement of the European Commission via the formal Rural Development Programme amendment process.

“It is not currently anticipated that there will be an increase in the level of payment to participants of the scheme,” he said when responding to a parliamentary question.