BPS and REAP applications: There are just two weeks left to get your Basic Payment Scheme application submitted. The closing date is 17 May 2021.

This is the most important scheme application you will make during the year and it is important to give it time to get it right.

Applications must be made online on the agfood.ie portal and you will need your username, password and PAC code to access your account. If you have lost your password, you can contact the Department of Agriculture on 076 106 4424.

If you have made a lot of changes or you are unsure about anything in relation to your application, you can call on an agricultural adviser or Teagasc adviser to help with filling out the application.

Advisers will be under a lot of pressure over the next two weeks, so don’t leave it until the last minute to make your application.

The new Results Based Environment Agri Pilot Project (REAP) scheme is open for applications and the closing date is 10 May, which leaves a very short window for applications. Only 2,000 farmers will be permitted to join, but it is important to read the terms and conditions of the scheme and see if it’s something that would suit your farm.

Losing focus: Improved weather and ground conditions have seen more and more farmers looking to get stock out to grass and catch up on fieldwork.

However, the downside of getting such tasks up-to-date is that suckler farmers can take their eye off the last few cows that have still to calve.

As attention turns to getting other jobs completed, checking in-calf cows tends to get less and less frequent. This is when it is easy to miss a cow experiencing a difficult calving. By the time assistance is available, it can be too late and there is a greater chance of losing a calf. While fieldwork and other jobs have to be completed when weather permits, make a point of checking on cows in the early morning, lunchtime, dinner and evening.

If you are unable to commit to this, ask a family member to check in on cows during the daytime for you.

Dead calves are worth nothing, so don’t lose focus on the last few cows that have still to calve. Calving cameras really come into their own at this time of year, as cows can be checked remotely on smartphones when herd owners are off-farm.

Tullamore Farm Webinar: Next week is the last episode of the Tullamore Farm webinar series. In the final episode, we will be taking a look at the Tullamore Farm finances for 2020 and where improvements can be made.

We will compare the beef and sheep enterprises in terms of gross margin performance and will also take a look at what changes can be made on Tullamore Farm to make it more profitable.

The webinar is free to view with no pre-registration necessary and will take place live on www.ifj.ie on Tuesday 4 May at 8.30pm.

If you would like to submit questions before the event, you can email webinar@farmersjournal.ie or Whatsapp 086 836 6465. You can also submit questions live on the night.