We can overcome the calf issue this year, as we have done in previous years. That was one of the messages from the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

He was addressing delegates at today’s (Friday, November 29) AGM of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) in Limerick.

During the meeting, he stated: “We deal with this issue every year and the dairy herd is marginally up on this time last year and we dealt with it successfully last year.”

However, he highlighted that “sometimes in the language and the narrative around the dairy herd, the spring calving and the dairy-bull calf, can sometimes invite commentary from outside”. This, he said, we need to be conscious of.

Continuing, the minister said:

The export of our calves increased to 200,000 calves and the customers of those calves are extremely happy with the product that they get.

“But there are many links along that chain, from the farmer to the marts; to the export companies; to the ferry companies; etc.

“So we need to make sure we control some of those issues. Then we are committed to the highest of standards.”

Visit to the Netherlands

The minister went on to discuss his recent visit to the Netherlands, where he met buyers of Irish calves.

Commenting on this visit, he said: “I am very pleased. I visited with the dutch and veal market recently and met with buyers of our calves.

Also Read: Creed visits Dutch calf farm to promote Irish calf exports

“They buy our calves; they buy Dutch calves; they buy Polish calves; and they buy German calves.

The message was very clear; they are absolutely happy with the quality of the Irish calves.

However, he noted that there are “concerns around the transport issues”.

“So to safe-guard that industry, we need to make sure we have control of the things that are in our own control. Therefore, adherence to the highest welfare standards is critically important,” he highlighted.

Concluding, the minister said: “I think it is a problem that we can collectively meet and overcome. I think sometimes the public commentary on that invites a public view, that is not always in line with the facts of the case.

“Like I said, we have been meeting this challenge year in, year out, in the dairy industry and I am confident we can do it again in the spring of 2020.”