The Minister of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Mr Michael Creed TD, has announced a new Financial Support Scheme for Calf Rearing.
Minister Creed said, “this initiative is one of a series of measures being put in place by stakeholders in advance of the Spring calving season with a view to ensuring the highest possible calf welfare outcomes”.
The Minister confirmed that he was making €1.5 million available in order to fund the scheme.
The primary investment focus in on supporting calf feeding systems such as computerised calf feeders, milk carts with mixer included and calf teat feeders. When a farmer purchases one of these items, they will also be eligible to receive support for the purchase of other items, such as calf milk heaters, calf forage/hay racks, calf meal troughs, calf feed barriers and calf pen dividers.
The Minister said that the minimum investment required is €1,000 ex. VAT, while the maximum investment being proposed will be €7,500 ex. VAT. A 40% grant aid will apply to applications meeting all the terms and conditions of the scheme. (In the event of over-subscription this figure may be reduced). Minister Creed confirmed that applications will open on 7th January 2020. Terms and conditions and the relevant specifications will be available on the DAFM website.
- CALF REARING EQUIPMENT
- Milk Feeders
Milk feeders shall be designed so that calves have to suck milk through a teat from the milk feed container(s). Feeders and teats shall be of proprietary manufacturer (not home-made) and shall be washable and long lasting, with the teats being replaceable.
- Automatic Calf Feeder
All Automatic calf feeders shall be computer controlled. The feeder shall be able to automatically mix and dispense milk replacer or dispense whole milk on predetermined
feeding curves for each calf and shall accommodate multiple feeding curves. It shall also monitor the drinking behaviour trends of each calf. The automatic calf feeder shall be comprised of base unit and one or more feed stations. The base unit shall comprise of a single or a dual hopper, mixing bowls and a display screen. The calves drink the milk through a teat placed in one of the feed stations.
Calves shall be monitored by means of an RFID (Radio-frequency identification) Tag/Collar and RFID reader, or by an EID (Electronic Identification) Tag/Collar and EID reader. The feeder shall be easily cleaned and maintained.
- Milk Cart with Mixer
All milk carts/crates shall be of proprietary manufacturer (not homemade) comprising of a stainless steel or plastic container to hold the milk. The milk cart shall comprise of a tank/ container, lid, at least two wheels and a handle to manoeuvre the cart. There shall be a valve/tap to empty the container while in an upright stationary position. The cart shall also incorporate a mixer to mix milk replacer and water. The milk cart shall be designed to be easily cleaned and maintained.
- Calf Milk Heater
Milk heaters shall be electrically powered and of proprietary manufacture. Units shall have an externally adjustable variable thermostat, whereby the unit automatically cuts off after reaching the required temperature. They shall waterproof rated to IPX7. The milk heater shall be easily cleaned and maintained.
- Calf Forage/Hay Rack
All hay racks shall be of proprietary manufacturer and may be either wall mounted, pen divider mounted, or free standing. Where pen divider mounted and free standing, they can be single or double sided where the double version serves two adjacent pens. The hay rack shall be manufactured from galvanised steel, painted steel or durable plastic.
- Calf Meal Trough
Meal Troughs shall be of proprietary manufacturer and may be ground, wall or pen divider mounted, and shall be manufactured of galvanised steel, painted steel, stainless steel or durable plastic.
- Calf Feed Barrier
Pen fronts shall be movable, afford access to the pen, and provide openings for calves to feed. For single pens and pens for up to 6 calves, the whole front may be hinged as a gate and provided with troughs. The feed barrier shall be of a diagonal or adjustable design