IFA re­jects min­is­ter’s changes in pro­posed sys­tem of manda­tory elec­tronic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of sheep

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - Stephen Cado­gan

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed has in­creased fi­nan­cial sup­port to as­sist farms in the change to manda­tory elec­tronic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of sheep, and has ex­tended the date of its in­tro­duc­tion.

There will be a once-off pay­ment (no ap­pli­ca­tion needed) of up to €100 per farmer for pur­chase of elec­tronic tags.

May 2, 2018, is the new dead­line for manda­tory elec­tronic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of all sheep. How­ever, from Oc­to­ber 1 next, ap­proved tag sup­pli­ers will sell only sin­gle elec­tronic slaugh­ter tags (for lambs less than 12 months mov­ing di­rectly from the farm of birth to slaugh­ter), and elec­tronic tag sets (for all other sheep move­ments). And from June 1, 2019, all sheep mov­ing off a hold­ing must be iden­ti­fied elec­tron­i­cally, with the sin­gle elec­tronic slaugh­ter tag on lambs less than 12 months (in the right ear) moved di­rectly from the birth hold­ing to a slaugh­ter plant, or the elec­tronic tag set for all other move­ments. The elec­tronic tag regime re­quires one con­ven­tional tag in the left ear and one elec­tronic tag in the right ear, or an elec­tronic bo­lus in the stom­ach of the sheep with a cor­re­spond­ing con­ven­tional tag.

IFA Pres­i­dent Joe Healy said a once-off €100 sub­ven­tion com­pletely un­der­es­ti­mates tag costs.

But IFA Sheep Chair­man Sean Den­nehy wel­comed the new June 1, 2019 im­ple­men­ta­tion date for EID. Mr Den­nehy said EID can­not go ahead un­til a proper sys­tem of move­ment record­ing is put in place. He said farm­ers are go­ing through a hor­ren­dous year, and im­pos­ing the €2m ex­tra EID costs is a bad move. The staged im­ple­men­ta­tion will al­low all 2018 sea­son lambs to exit the sys­tem prior to June 1, 2019, with­out hav­ing to be iden­ti­fied elec­tron­i­cally. And farm­ers can use up ex­ist­ing stocks of con­ven­tional tags prior to that date. The Min­is­ter also an­nounced a sub­ven­tion to marts of 40% of ver­i­fied de­vel­op­ment cost (sub­ject to a max­i­mum of €10,000) for equip­ment to print out tag num­bers of sheep brought to the mart, for farm­ers.

The EID tag sub­sidy of up to €100 will ap­ply to the first order for EID tags or­dered by farm­ers af­ter Oc­to­ber 1, 2018. Elec­tronic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion re­places the cur­rent very com­plex iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem which over-re­lies on man­ual tran­scrip­tion of 15-digit in­di­vid­ual tag num­bers.

It will en­able marts and slaugh­ter plants to elec­tro­n­isheep cally cap­ture the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers of sheep and pro­vide a print­out to the farmer for as­so­ci­a­tion with the dis­patch docket; farm­ers will record only the to­tal num­ber of sheep con­signed on the dis­patch docket. This move to full EID will pro­tect Ire­land’s rep­u­ta­tion as a source of safe and se­cure food and an­i­mals, and will put Ire­land’s sheep trace­abil­ity sys­tem on a par with other ma­jor com­peti­tor ex­port­ing coun­tries.

Pic­tures: John De­lea

At last Sun­day’s Kil­gar­van Show in Co Kerry, fa­ther and son Danny and John McCarthy prepar­ing their Scotch rams for show­ing and, Dan Lynch, left, Bal­lyvour­ney, Co Cork with his Scot­tish High­land bulls, aged 10 and 11 years.

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