By Farmers Weekly staff

MEMBERS of Cornwall Quality Livestock Producers co-op have won access to 228,000 of MAFF and EU funds.

The cash is intended for buying better pedigree rams and bulls, investing in handling equipment and attending training days.

These Objective 5b funds are available until June 2001, for members who were in the group by 1 February, 2000.

Maximum grants will be 180 for rams, on a purchase price of 450, and 800 for bulls, on a 2000 price.

Group members will be free to buy more expensive stock, but will not get pro rata bigger grants.

To qualify for grants, rams must have either in-flock lean indexes of at least 110, or Sire Reference Scheme indexes of 150.

Bulls must have a minimum EBV of 15. There will be no restriction on breed, providing the breeders are in one of the Signet schemes which measure lean indexes or EBVs.

The 40% grants are also available for handling equipment, according to co-op marketing manager Clare Parnell.

“We hope members will use the grants to help buy weighing equipment so they can monitor growth rates and sell stock at the weight and finish the market wants,” she says.

With its central database of members lamb and beef gradings and weights, the co-op should be in a position to monitor the impact of the grant-aided sires on quality and margins.

But for sheep the scheme will require individual tagging and recording right through to carcass stage for maximum accuracy.