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