Herd number: a step-by-step guide for farmers

In this article, we explain how you can request a herd number from the DAFM.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine introduced herd numbers in 1939 to identify cattle herds.

Your herd number is a unique number assigned to you and is a legal requirement for keeping livestock.

Your local Regional Veterinary Office (RVO) is responsible for assigning your herd number.

Applying for a herd number is a big task for many would-be farmers at this time of year, ahead of the May 17 application deadline for the Basic Farm Payment (BPR) scheme.

A request for a herd number is usually simple. However, do not leave your application before May if you intend to apply for the basic payment scheme.

How to get a herd number in Ireland

Anyone wishing to become a caretaker and owner of a herd under disease eradication programs must complete an ER1 form and an ER1.1 form. You can find these forms on the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine website.

An ER1.1 form is used to register a herd number and become the owner of a herd number for disease eradication programs. Comparatively, an ER1 form is to register as a herder.

The applicant should include details such as:

  • Last name;
  • Address;
  • SPP number;
  • Details of the business in which they intend to cultivate.

You must clearly indicate on the ER1 form whether you wish to request a new herd number, reactivate an existing herd number that has become inactive, or modify the registration of an existing herd number.

For example, if a farm is inherited or transferred from a parent to a son/daughter, they must transfer the herd number to the transferee’s name. This also includes the transfer of rights.

Both must sign a declaration of commitment when adding a second name to a herd number, to ensure compliance by both participants with the requirements of the various programs of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Navy.

What is a herd number used for?

Flock numbers are in place as an administrative device, their primary purpose is disease control.

A herd owner is the owner of the animals contained in a herd. In comparison, a herdsman is a designated person responsible for the welfare of animals within the herd. For example, a farm manager.

A herd number is essential for both disease management and control on farms across the country. This includes diseases such as tuberculosis in cattle.

There are criteria established by the Department of Agriculture to achieve your herd number.

This criterion involves ensuring that the disease is both controlled and prevented from spreading to livestock. This involves keeping stock on your farm without mixing or being on the same farm as other herds.

Who can apply for a herd number?

Anyone over the age of eighteen can apply for a herd number to keep either cattle or sheep.

In many cases, young skilled farmers take the opportunity to join the number of existing family herds for financial benefits.

However, to obtain a herd number, a green certificate is not necessary. Although this is advantageous, there is a time limit for the period during which you can recover these financial advantages.

As soon as you obtain your herd number as a Young Farmer, from the date of registration of the herd number, you have a period of five years to apply for schemes such as the National Reserve, as well as the Young Farmers Scheme.

The Young Farmers Program has a duration of five years from the date of obtaining the Green Certificate. Therefore, the earlier you apply for this scheme when registering your herd number, the longer you will receive payments under the Young Farmers Scheme, which is for a maximum of five years.

These premiums include a top-up to entitlements under the National Reserve Basic Payment Scheme and access to the Young Farmers Supplementary Scheme for five years.

Partnerships and joint herd numbers are also required to complete the standard ER1.1 form completion process.

When you have completed this form, DAFM will pay grants and grants from the Basic Payment Scheme to the person(s) named on this ER1.1 form.

The conditions for obtaining a herd number

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Marine, the Regional Veterinary Office carries out an inspection before issuing a herd or herd number.

According to the DAFM, to minimize disease and maximize animal health, herds and herds in the application must meet the following criteria:

  • The herd occupies exclusively a defined holding;
  • Entry points on other adjacent lands, not part of the application, are permanently blocked;
  • There are separate entrances for operation;
  • Perimeter fencing should be at a minimum inventory proof and also prevent direct contact between inventory on neighboring farms;
  • Adequate facilities for the inspection, loading, unloading, mustering, watering, feeding, segregation, treatment of sick or injured animals and housing, where appropriate;
  • Adequate facilities for animal bedding and collection or storage of manure and sewage.

There are independent and separate facilities such as:

  • Corridor or livestock handling facilities;
  • Feeding and watering facilities;
  • Agricultural machinery;
Planning your herd

According to the DAFM, the current wait time for herd number approval is 3-4 weeks, depending on your location.

This gives you enough time to develop a plan based on a successful herd number application.

You should consider the following:

  • How are you going to find animals;
  • The type of animals you intend to have on your farm;
  • The number of animals required;
  • If you intend to breed animals;
  • Consider sourcing from herds or farms that are known to be in good health.

You should also consider how much square footage you have in relation to the head of animals you intend to raise.

For basic payment program applications, you will need to host your minimum storage rate for seven consecutive months to claim the ANC payment.

Herd number applicants, who do not move cattle in time, once they have obtained their herd number, may not be eligible for the ANC payment.

If you need help, contact your local agricultural adviser for professional help.

Comments are closed.