Just launched this week is the new Sustainable Beef and Lamb assurance scheme (SBLAS); it is the replacement scheme for the Bord Bia quality assurance scheme.
It will be introduced over the next eighteen months, as each certification period only covers thus and will commence after Easter.
To quickly go through the main changes,
- As part of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) or in other words the changes introduced for farmers spraying, will now be part of the new SBLAS scheme.
- The main bone of contention with the old scheme was that issues found on the day of the audit resulted in not being certified, then no close out period was allowed and the farmer could not apply again for 6 months. In the new scheme a four week period is given. Where the issues are too many or too serious to be approved, this close out period can be used by the farmer to sort out whatever is the issue and to what is necessary.
- One important point to note that during the close out period of four weeks is that the farm is still considered a member of the scheme and cattle can be sold on that basis. This is one point that has the main farmer representive organisations have been very vocal at pointing out the lack of a period allowed to resolve issues as a big flaw of the old scheme.
As part of the new scheme, farmers will be required to complete a sustainability survey, while this will not impact on the score attained, it must be done and can be done in advance or if needs be, by the auditor on the day but this will add to the length of the audit.
Overall the new scheme looks to have only improvements, especially with the part of a period of time to address issues, so hopefully this will encourage a higher uptake among farmers. On a 400kg carcass, membership of the scheme is worth 48 euro to a farmer.
Now with more calves on the ground and weather and grass on the up, it is time to be getting cows ready for grass and breeding.
Before cows go out, get vaccinations up to date for Lepto and BVD, as well as the stock bull. If mainly relying on the bull, it may be no harm to have him fertility tested and his feet done to ensure he is fit and healthy.
Any cows that are below 3 on body condition score would benefit from the better quality grass being made available in order to gain enough condition prior to breeding. Also a lick bucket being put out with the cows is no harm.
I cannot stress enough but watch out for tetany, while it has been relatively dry, getting magnesium into cows through the water trough should work now.
Trade on all counts is reported as being very good with grass buyers for the seven month rule really driving trade as well as factory agents paying well for factory fit cattle and short keep cattle.
Young Bulls 405c/kg