Feed compounders are being called on to label products with the exact percentage of ingredients and whether or not the product is Irish or imported.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) said that compounders have “switched back to using high-quality Irish grain this year, which is welcome as the price of imported GM maize increased”.

“This is good for the tillage sector as grain stores have emptied for the 2021 harvest,” noted IFA grain chairperson Mark Browne.

Browne also pointed out that, under statutory rules, all compound feed should, at a minimum, include a list of all the main constituents, with the name of each feed material displayed in descending order by weight.

The labelling requirements are an “integral condition” of the Bord Bia livestock and assurance schemes, he highlighted.

“There’s an emphasis at government level on increasing the tillage area in the country, and promoting the use of native grain and protein crops in livestock rations,” the IFA grain chairperson said.

“Irish grain carries a lower carbon footprint than third country [non-EU] imports. Therefore, proper labelling allows farmers to make informed decisions around sustainability criteria and supporting native grain production.”

Browne encouraged feed suppliers to “go beyond” the legal requirements by displaying the country of origin of the main feed constituents and called on farmers to support suppliers who prioritised Irish gain and protein crops.

“As farmers, we demand clear and precise labelling on products destined for the final consumer. The same demand should be placed on those supplying feed inputs,” he concluded.