Compensation for the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme (OCDS) could be lost if producers do not plan culling carefully, according to the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX).

From September, mandatory booking will be implemented, resulting in only animals pre-booked into daily slaughtering slots at registered abattoirs able to enter the scheme.

Only these animals will be eligible for compensation, explained EBLEX policy advisor, Mark Topliff.

DEFRA have calculated national OCDS capacity for 6000 animals/week, which should be able to deal with the estimated 300,000-plus cattle born before August 1996.

“Producers should be aware disposal options are set to become limited at the end of 2007 ahead of the 10% reduction in compensation rates from January.” 

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) have set a deadline of 30 September for booking for slaughter between 1 October and 31 December.

“The OCDS scheme will close at the end of 2008, rendering all previously eligible cattle valueless, prohibited from entering the food chain and classed as fallen stock,” added Mr Topliff.

EBLEX advice for producers:

– Check BCMS statement of OCDS animals against current stock to identify cows born before August 1996
– Inform BCMS of any cattle no longer on farm and return passports of any that have died
– Make a list of all OCDS and plan best time to cull
– Book these animals through local OCDS abattoirs or collection centres by ear tag number
– Ensure animals to be disposed of in 2007 are booked by 30 September
 
For further information contact the RPA OCDS helpline: 0118 968 7333