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New Sheep Welfare Scheme Welcomed by Sheep Farmers

New Sheep Welfare Scheme Welcomed by Sheep Farmers

On the 8th April the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine launched a National Sheep Welfare Scheme (NSWS) for sheep farmers with payment paid on eligible breeding ewes. Enda Maloney tells us more.

The scheme will pay farmers €8 per ewe following the completion of two selected actions. The scheme will run from 1st January 2024 to 31st December 2024, however actions selected must be completed by 15th October 2024.

Applicants to the NSWS must:

  • Have an ovine Active DAFM herd number
  • Submit a 2024 Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS)
  • Submit a 2023 National Sheep Census by February 14, 2024.

There are four actions in the scheme and applicants must complete in full two actions, one from each category.

Completion of both actions are mandatory for payment.

Category A actions Category B actions
1. Shearing 1. Clostridial vaccination of ewes
2. Body Condition Scoring Ewes and appropriate
follow-on management (as appropriate)
2. Plunge Dipping to control external parasite.
  • Where only the Category A or only the Category B action has been completed payment will be €2.00 per ewe.
  • Where neither the Category A action nor the Category B action have been completed no payment will be made and an administrative penalty of 20% (€1.60 per ewe) on the overall amount due to the farmer which will be imposed.

Farmers who select the Shearing action, must carry it out by 15th October 2024, and documentary evidence of completion of this action will include

  • Completion of the scheme action record sheets
  • Receipts from a shearing contractor and/or evidence of sale of the wool to a wool merchant.

Farmers that select the Body Condition Scoring (BCS) of ewes, must carry it out twice within the timeframes below and the assessment dates must take place eight weeks apart:

  • First BCS assessment must be carried out between 15th April – 15th July 2024.
  • Second BCS Assessment must be carried out between 1st August – 15th October 2024.

For category B, farmers must choose one from the two options mentioned in the above table. If picking the vaccination of breeding ewes against Clostridial diseases it must be completed by 15th October 2024.  Breeding ewes vaccinated previously should be given an annual vaccination four to six weeks before the expected lambing date.  If all or some of your breeding ewes are not currently in receipt of a Clostridial Vaccination, you may vaccinate lambs as an alternative.  Lambs must be vaccinated from 3 weeks of age and a second booster vaccination must be administered no later than 4 - 6 weeks later.

If a farmer selects plunge dipping, it must be completed by 15th October 2024. Plunge dipping can be carried out on farm where the flock owner has their own plunge dip or by a mobile plunge dipping service operator. Sheep showers do not qualify for payment under the NSWS. Records for sheep dip purchased must be retained by the farmer

Applications are made by completing the National Sheep Welfare Scheme online application form available on www.agfood.ie either by the applicant themselves or by an approved FAS advisor authorised to act on their behalf. So if completing your BISS application over the next few days and weeks ask your advisor about this new scheme. The scheme is now open for applications with the closing date on Tuesday, 21st May 2024.

Read more about the National Sheep Welfare Scheme