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National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme

Over 14,383 farmer applicants joined the Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme in 2023. This is a substantial increase in farmer participants from the first Dairy Beef Programme announced in 2020 where 8,474 herds applied.

The majority of dairy beef calves now on farm would be over 12 weeks old and can be weighed in participating herds. The weight data recorded should be submitted to the ICBF database within 7 days of the weighing event.

Actions to be undertaken

  • Farmers must weigh a minimum of 5 eligible calves and submit the weights to ICBF.
  • All weights should be submitted within 7 days of weighingand before November 1st 2023.
  • Calves must be at least 12 weeks old at the time of weighing.
  • Up to 50 calvescan be weighed (up from max of 40 in 2022 programme)

Eligible Dairy Beef Calves

  • Dairy beef calves must be in your herd for at least 10 daysbefore weighing.
  • Calves must be born between 1st July 2022 and30th June 2023.
  • A male or female calf of a beef breed sire born to a dairy breed dam or a dairy male 

Recording the animal’s weights

  1. ICBF weight recording  mobile app.
  2. Online Services on icbf.com – Log In – ‘Services’ – ‘Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme’ – ‘Record Weights’.
  3. Farm Software package.
  4. Record on Animal Events notebook and transfer online afterwards.
  5. Weight Recording Form (if online is not an option). These can be requested from ICBF (023-8832883)

What are the benefits of weighing cattle?

Weighing cattle is an important management tool within any herd. It provides accurate, animal-specific performance data which allows farmers to make more informed decisions – helping to improve both the productivity and efficiency of their cattle herd.

  • Monitor Animal Performance – Regularly weighing cattle allows their performance to be assessed. This information can be used to highlight whether animals are meeting their daily live weight gain targets and indicates management areas that may require attention.
  • Improve Animal Health– Regularly weighing cattle may help to identify any underlying health issues at a very early stage. Underperforming animals who are failing to meet their growth targets can be easily identified and investigation carried out to determine the cause. Weighing cattle also allows for accurate administration of veterinary treatments. This helps prevent any under or overdosing of animals, which is beneficial in minimising the risk of antibiotic resistance occurring on farm.
  • Forecast Optimum Time for Sale– Regular weighing of cattle allows stock to be sold/slaughtered at the optimum weight grade, ensuring maximum profitability.