It appears that it could well be May or June before payments start to flow for calves deemed eligible in 2013.
Calves born this year will be part of the 2014 BDP scheme year. If you sign up again in 2014, you will have the option of entering the new Beef Genomics Programme (worth €40 per calf), which will also commence this year.
When registering the birth of calves this year, make sure you enter sire details and calving ease; this information will be required. The other stipulation in the Beef Genomics Programme is you have to be compliant with all conditions of the BVD eradication programme in terms of testing and removing persistently-infected calves, etc.
We will have more details over the next few week on how both schemes will operate, but it is likely that applications will issue from the Department later this month.
Both schemes are well worth entering because of the obvious economic return.
There is, of course, a much larger long-term payback, because the information provided by both schemes will be important in helping validate the Eurostar indexes. Having a reliable index will be central in determining our breeding decisions into the future.
* We are in the third and final year of the Beef Technology Adoption programme (BTAP). Hopefully, most of you have received your 2013 payment by now. For many of you, 2013 will have been your first experience of completing a profit monitor. Make sure to go through the monitor results with your adviser, and hone in on areas where you need to improve.
Now is the time of year to set yourself a few targets for 2014; for example, make better silage in order to reduce the meal bill. Or can you get an extra 10kg of liveweight over the coming season on your weanlings? Or will your heifers be sufficiently well grown to bull at 15 months and calve down as two year olds? You will have a compulsory number of meetings to attend, which can include an approved event.
You will also be asked to complete a task or tasks, as was the case in previous years. Although it will not be a compulsory task in 2014, completing a profit monitor would be worthwhile. It will build on the information from last year, and will give you a better picture of how the farm is performing, from physical and financial perspectives.