Details of the new €10 per ewe sheep scheme were presented to IFA at a meeting of the Rural Development Monitoring Committee this week.
Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said the new scheme is a very positive development for the sheep sector. He said following an intensive campaign in the lead up to the General Election, IFA secured €25m additional funding for the new scheme in the Programme for Government.
John Lynskey said it is critical that the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his Department fully takes on board the views of farmers in working out the operational details of the new scheme and keeps the requirements simple with minimal costs on farmers. In order to accommodate the maximum number of sheep farmers, John Lynskey said the scheme needs to provide flexibility on numbers and on the options farmers can select to best suit their enterprise in order to draw down the funding.
The IFA sheep farmer leader said the proposals are now gone to Brussels and The Minister needs to be in a position to confirm full funding and details of the scheme in the October Budget as the scheme needs to be up and running from January 1st 2017.
The scheme will be based on the animal welfare measure in the Rural Development Programme, which allows for a payment per head. He said the scheme will involve a number of welfare options which farmers will choose from to best suit their enterprise.
The details presented outlined nine different options and it is suggested they will be divided into two categories, with farmers required to choose an option from each category.
Details of the options outlined by the Department of Agriculture:
Farmer required to carry out five lameness examinations per year at prescribed times, recording incidence and scoring.
Mineral supplementation of ewes
Supplement minerals to ewes post-mating to help combat deficiencies, reducing still births and mortality.
Meal feeding post weaning
Feeding a suitable lamb ration containing minerals for four weeks post weaning.
Undertake two faecal egg counts per annum to establish worm burden. Hill farmers to carry out one count on lambs for worms and one on ewes for liver fluke.
Scan ewes 80 days after ram turnout. Mark, divide and feed according to litter size.
Mineral supplementation of Lambs
Supplement lambs with minerals pre-weaning in hill flocks.
Introduce a flystrike programme during high risk months through chemical control and dagging.
Purchase of 3-4 or 5 star rated ram per 40 ewes on terminal or replacement index before the end of year three of the scheme.
Parentage recorded ram
Purchase parentage recorded ram per 40 ewes for one breeding season before end of year three.