IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed the launch of the new €10 per ewe sheep scheme by the Minister of Agriculture Michael Creed this week, saying this is a very positive development for the Irish sheep sector.
He said, “IFA undertook an intensive campaign throughout 2015/2016 and succeeded in securing a commitment in the Programme for Government and funding in Budget 2017 of €25m per year for the new Sheep scheme”.
Welcoming the scheme, IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said this is a major boost for sheep farmers. He said the new scheme will operate under the animal welfare section of the Rural Development Programme.
Farmers will be required to undertake various tasks which will improve and enhance the standards of animal welfare and health of their sheep flock. He said the welfare initiatives include task on lameness, mineral supplementation, parasite controls, flystrike and scanning.
John Lynskey pointed out farmers will choose from a list of options and be required to select two options, one from Category A and one from Category B. He said the options are tailored to suit both lowland and hill sheep flocks. “Farmers will have to undertake the tasks at various times throughout the year and keep a record of the work. Participants will be subject to the normal inspection process.”
Encouraging all sheep farmers to apply for the scheme John Lynskey said it is very important that the scheme is well publicised. He said with 2.5m ewes in the national flock, there is adequate funding in the scheme to cover every sheep farmer with a breeding flock. In addition, he said IFA has also outlined the need to accommodate young farmers and new entrants under the application arrangements.
The IFA National Sheep Chairman said the Irish sheep sector involves 35,000 farmers, 2.5m ewes, annual output of 61,000t, valued at €290m. He said analysis conducted by Professor Alan Renwick from UCD shows that each €1 of direct support for the sheep sector underpins €2.7 of economic output and €1.72 of household income in the Irish economy.
Details of the options and tasks under the new €10 per ewe Sheep Scheme are set out below:
|Lowland flocks||Hill flocks|
|Category A||Category A|
|Lameness: 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.|
|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.|
|Category B||Category B|
|Parasite control: Undertake two faecal egg counts per annum to establish worm burden.||Parasite control: Undertake one faecal egg count on lambs for worms and one on ewes for liver fluke.|
|Scanning: Scan ewes 80 days after ram turnout. Mark, divide and feed according to litter size.||Scanning: Scan ewes 80 days after ram turnout. Mark, divide and feed according to litter size.|
|Flystrike: Introduce a flystrike programme during high risk months through chemical control and dagging.||Mineral supplementation of Lambs Supplement lambs with minerals pre-weaning in hill flocks|