Act early to take advantage of older cow disposal scheme

Producers wanting to dispose of old beef or dairy cattle through the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme (OCDS) have until 30 September to book all animals in, it has been announced.

The scheme, which pays about £230 a head for cattle too old to enter the human food chain, closes entirely at the end of December and the early booking deadline has been introduced to help manage slaughtering and incineration capacity through to the end of the year. EBLEX estimates over 155,000 cattle born before August 1996 qualify for the scheme.

After 31 December 2008, any old animals still on farm will have to be disposed of as fallen stock at the farmers own expense, possibly costing about £150 a head.

“Producers have everything to gain and little to lose from early OCDS booking of all animals they wish to put through the scheme,” EBLEX’s Mark Topliff said. “The RPA has undertaken to treat all genuine reasons for being unable to present animals on the allocated day with sympathy, getting abattoirs to place these stock on a reserve list to be accommodated at the earliest opportunity.”

EBLEX advice

  • Identify any cows born before August 1996 remaining on farm

  • Make a list of such animals and the best time to cull them

  • Book these animals in with local OCDS abattoir or collection centre as far in advance of planned culling date as possible

  • Ensure animals to be disposed of in the final quarter of the scheme are booked in by the end of September

  • For further advice, contact the OCDS helpline 0118 968 7333, or visit

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