High fall-out rate pro­vokes change in new BVD tags

Irish Independent - Farming - - News - Martin Ryan

A TAG fall-out rate of up to three-times the nor­mal level has re­sulted in tech­ni­cal changes to the man­u­fac­ture process for tis­sue tags in­tro­duced in 2013 to fa­cil­i­tate BVD test­ing.

Re­place­ment ear tags are to be pro­vided ‘free of charge’ to farm­ers who pur­chased the live­stock tags last year af­ter the sup­pli­ers ac­cepted farmer com­plaints over sig­nif­i­cantly higher ‘fall-out’ rates.

Liam Egan of Mul­li­na­hone Co-op and gen­eral man­ager of Euro­tags, which has been con­tracted by the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture to sup­ply the tags, agreed that the fall out rate in the re­designed ear tag was up to three times the nor­mal level of loss.

“We are aware of the prob­lem that is be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced with the BVD tag since it was in­tro­duced in 2013 and any farmer who re­quired a re­place­ment has been sup­plied free of charge,” he said.

“Within a cou­ple of weeks our IT sys­tem will be up­dated to au­to­mat­i­cally iden­tify any of these tags in an or­der for re­place­ment, and even if the farmer does not re­quest it, they will be ret­ro­spec­tively sup­plied free,” he added.

Mr Egan said Mul­li­na­hone be­came aware of the prob­lem within five or six months of the in­tro­duc­tion of the tags in 2013 and tech­ni­cal ad­just­ment to the mould­ing process had been put in train. He said the re­sults of the changes will not be known un­til mid-year or later, af­ter the 2014 tags have been in use for some months.

LOSSES

A ‘loss’ rate of about 4pc over the life­time of the pre­vi­ous tag was re­garded as the norm. The new tags, in­tro­duced last year to ac­com­mo­date tis­sue test­ing for BVD have been show­ing losses of around 10pc since their in­tro­duc­tion.

Michael Guinan, chair­man, ICMSA beef com­mit­tee said that the as­so­ci­a­tion had re­ceived many com­plaints from farm­ers about t he l osses be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced with the new tag.

“They are break­ing at the shank. It ap­pears to be caused by the de­sign to fa­cil­i­tate the BVD test. The shank looks to be weaker. It is not hap­pen­ing to the sec­ond tag , which is dif­fer­ent, and we have had dis­cus­sions with Euro­tags about the prob­lem,” he said.

“We are find­ing that they are not tak­ing the nor­mal wear and tear and fall­ing out very eas­ily af­ter a few months in use. The ex­pe­ri­ence of farm­ers is that they are hav­ing a re­place­ment rate two or three times the nor­mal,” he added.

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