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How Should Suckler Cow Herds Prepare For Changes To Support?

5 March 2024

The Scottish Beef calf scheme is changing - from 2025 onwards it is likely there will be additional qualifying conditions to meet. Calves born from a mother who has an above target calving interval will have a reduced or possibly no payment.  The target calving interval to meet is yet to be set, and we still do not know all the details, but some principles are clear:

  • Calving Interval will be the metric used.
  • It will be on a per animal basis not per herd.
  • The target is likely to become more challenging over time.

The following is not yet clear:

  • What the calving interval will be when first launched.
  • If there will be any derogations.
  • Exact payment arrangements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a calving interval?

A cow’s calving interval is the length of time that passes between the birth of one calf and the next one.

I calve my heifers at 3 years of age – will this negatively impact me?

No - the cow’s calving interval is calculated from her first calf to the second and so on.

Where are they getting this data from?

The data is calculated from ScotEID, where we register the births and deaths of all cattle. To find out your information see our short guide ‘How do I look up my herd calving intervals on MyHerdStats.’

Steps to take in 2024 to prepare for upcoming change.

  • Check out your figures on MyHerdStats.
  • Work out from your records which cows have more than a 400 day calving interval and look at the reasons for this.
  • During calving 2024 make sure you register all calves born (even still births).
  • During calving 2024, if you BVD tissue tag all calves, make sure you tag any dead calves and send samples away as per point above.
  • If you are unhappy with your calving interval, please seek advice from an advisor. A Specialist Plan may be able to help you fund this. To find out more visit or contact the advice line at or 0300 323 0161.

Janette Sutherland

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