The Department of Agriculture recently announced a new Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS). The aim of this program is to build on the now defunct sheep welfare program.
The Sheep Improvement Scheme is funded under Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan. It supports sheep farmers in implementing measures to improve animal health and welfare in the sheep sector. The payment per eligible ewe has been increased from €10 to €12/eligible ewe. Applications for the program must be submitted online by Monday, January 9, 2023.
All sheep farmers with breeding sheep can apply to participate in the program. Newcomers to sheep farming can apply to participate in the program on an annual basis.
The actions and options under the program are somewhat similar to those of the Sheep Welfare program. Applicants must select one action from category A and one action from category B. Under the SIS, all applicants must carry out the Genotyped Ram action at least once during the lifetime of the programme.
Conduct at least five lameness checks per year and document the cause/treatment of lame sheep. Keep receipts for the products used.
Mineral supplement ewes after mating:
Supplement all ewes (including pigs rented to the ram) with mineral feed for 60 days after mating. Be sure to keep records of products purchased and dates fed.
Parasite Control/Faecal Count – Lambs Only:
Applicants must submit two fecal egg counts annually between June 1 and September 30 to a ministry-approved laboratory.
Applicants must incorporate a fly infestation program and collect sheep once between June 1 and September 30
Scanning and Logging Results – Management of Pregnant Ewes:
Ewes need to be scanned between approximately 70 and 100 days after ram release. The scan results must be recorded along with the receipt and the scanner results.
Pre-weaning lamb supplementation (hill herds only):
Lambs must be supplemented with mineral feed at least once during the grazing season prior to weaning. Records/receipts of minerals to be stored.
Post-weaning lamb meal feeding (post-weaning lamb concentrate) (hill herds only):
Lambs must be supplemented with compound feed containing appropriate minerals and vitamins for 4 weeks after weaning. Records/receipts for feed should be retained.
Genotyped Ram Action:
If the ram is substituted it must have four or five stars on the surrogate or terminal index and have a genomic rating with Sheep Ireland at the time of purchase and be a type one, two or three for scrapie. No type 4 or 5 genotyped scrapie rams will qualify.
If the ram used is a Hill Flock breed, the ram must be DNA sire verified by Sheep Ireland at the time of purchase and be a type one, two or three for Scrapie.
Applicants must complete their two chosen actions annually and also select the year in which they choose the genotyped ram action.
The year the applicant selects the genotyped ram action, that becomes their category B action for that year. With a flock size of more than 150 breeding sheep, the genotyped ram action must be carried out twice during the five years of the program, once within the first three years and then every year after the first selected year.
Additionally, to remain eligible for SIS, applicants must submit their sheep census annually. You must maintain the breeding sheep reference number requested at the time of application. If the number of eligible breeding sheep falls below the reference number, the applicant must immediately inform the department.
All applicants will receive a program action record book to record the completion of their two actions selected for the program. Receipts for purchases and scan records must be retained for the duration of the program.
Martina Donnelly, B&T Drystock Adviser, Teagasc, Galway/Clare
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/sheep/advice/key-details-of-sheep-welfare-scheme-ahead-of-january-9-closing-date-42249861.html Important details of the sheep welfare program ahead of the January 9th deadline