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Keep on track of Sheep Welfare Scheme

By Sean Doorley, Teagasc Beef & Sheep Adviser, Longford.


The Sheep Welfare Scheme was introduced last December by the Department of Agriculture and it will provide funding of up to €25 million for Irish sheep farmers in 2017. Administrative control checks of farmers who joined the Scheme have already commenced, so are you ready for an inspection if you should happen to be selected? Under the scheme farmers were required to choose two actions which can improve the overall welfare of a flock. These actions must be completed over a  12 month period.  In return the farmer will receive a payment of €10 per breeding ewe, depending on the average number of ewes held on their farm in the years 2014 and 2015. For low land flocks the two actions to select were as follows; Lameness Control Regime or Mineral Supplementation post mating for ewes, and Parasite Control (Faecal Egg Count) or Pregnancy Scanning or Flystrike Control. Where an Administrative Control check takes place farmers will be required to submit their Action Record Books and associated documentation to the Department upon request. Each farmer received a Action Record Books when they were accepted into the scheme. These records will be examined as a means of checking compliance with actions. So for lowland flocks what are you required to do for each of the actions?

  1. Lameness Control; Carry out lameness assessments on five occasions during the year, once between mating and lambing, May/June, July/Aug, prior to mating and one other. Record percentage of lameness. Identify causes of lameness, treat accordingly and record in Action Record book.
  2. Mineral Supplementation Ewes post mating; For sixty days post mating supply bagged mineral feedingstuffs (dry minerals), mineral blocks, drenches and liquid minerals, injectables, boluses or included in compounded feedingstuffs to ewes. Use in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Retain receipts and record in Action Record book.
  3. Parasite Control; Carry out two Faecal Egg Count test on lambs between 1st June 2017 and 30th September 2017 to establish worm burden. Record anthelminthic use in Action Records Book.
  4. Pregnancy Scanning of Ewes; Scan 70-100 days post ram turnout. Record scanning results & retain scanning receipt. Record treatment of different groups of ewes per litter size.
  5. Flystrike Control; Incorporate mechanical control in addition to chemical control. Dag assessment at least once between 1st June & 30th Record number of sheep dagged & number of sheep with dag score greater than one. Use the guide provided in Action Record Book.


Remember to keep a record of when actions took place and hold onto relevant receipts. Plan ahead and ensure you are completing actions within the required deadlines. Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. They have offices based in Longford Town (Tel: 043 3341021), Roscommon Town  (Tel: 090 6626166), and Castlerea (Tel: 094 9620160). www.facebook.com/Teagascroscommonlongford/