High fall-out rate provokes change in new BVD tags
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.
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.