Farmers advised to ‘reflect’ on travel when trading calves

Farmers are being advised to “reflect” on whether a journey beyond 5km for the purpose of buying or selling calves is “essential” in the run up to calving season.

With many farmers, particularly dairy farmers, looking to offload calves in the coming months, some concerns have been expressed over the level of movement between different parts of the country, and the lack of measures for contact tracing.

One farmer, speaking to AgriLand, said he was aware of one individual who travelled from Co. Galway to Co. Monaghan for the purpose of trading calves.

The same farmer noted that somebody moving around to buy calves may visit several farms on the same day, in different counties.

He also called for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to put some traceability measure in place, such as a simple form or document that could be hosted on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s website that farmers could print out and use to track movements of people to and from their farms.

On foot of a query from AgriLand, the department confirmed that farmers can move animals as part of the business of farming, as it is an ‘essential service’. No restriction on distances exists for this purpose.

However, farmers are advised to to reflect on whether such movement is actually essential at this particular point in time, in light of Level 5 restrictions.

“People should consider whether tasks could be postponed for the duration of the ‘stay at home’ phase, taking into account the spirit of these measures, which is to keep people safe,” a department spokesperson said.

“In all cases, plans should be in place to carry out work while observing 2m physical distancing; and using appropriate hand hygiene and face coverings,” the spokesperson added.