Beef producers are being urged to keep a calving diary in preparation for the launch of the new £45million beef efficiency scheme next year.
Government yesterday revealed that the scheme, which aims to help farmers and crofters improve the efficiency, sustainability and quality of the national beef herd through the use of genomics, will offer support of up to £32 a calf.
“The scheme will launch in the spring of 2016, but we are sending beef farmers their diaries now so those thinking of applying for support can get a head start capturing data from the very beginning of the calving season,” said farm minister, Richard Lochhead.
“Participating breeders will then be asked to put that information into a new national database to be assessed alongside genomic data. This analysis can then be used by farmers to identify how best to improve the management and selection of their herd, which will bring benefits for both the environment and farm profits.”
Quality Meat Scotland chairman Jim McLaren, who helped develop the system, said: “I urge producers to have a close look at the scheme and keep a record of the simple requirements linked to the birth of each calf, ready to input to the system once it is open for business.”
North-east farmer Charlie Adam who chairs NFU Scotland’s livestock committee urged producers to participate in the scheme.
“This is a simple, easy-to-access scheme for which farmers’ time for participating is reimbursed through the £30 payment per calf,” said Mr Adam.
“The payment itself is not the motivator for participating, the real motivator is about improving the quality of the stock in Scotland and the beef we produce.”
The scheme will run for three years and eligible breeders will be asked to gather and input information about their animals, including size and family lines, into a new national database using ScotEID which will be assessed along with genomic data.