There will be no flexibility with requirements under the new Suckler Cow Scheme, a DAERA spokesperson has indicated.

The wet spring in 2024 has led many local suckler farmers to delay breeding this year so that cows will be calving closer to turnout in 2025.

However, pushing back breeding could mean that late-calving cows will not meet requirements under the Suckler Cow Scheme which is planned to open next year.

No exemptions

A spokesperson for DAERA told the Irish Farmers Journal that exemptions will not be granted for farmers who have intentionally delayed calving.

“The planned calving interval target for year one is 415 days. Farmers should consider carefully any changes in management practice to ensure they meet the calving interval targets,” the spokesperson said.

Aside from the calving interval target for mature cows, heifers will need to calve by 34 months of age to be eligible for payment in the first year of the Suckler Cow Scheme.