FarmLand – Season 3 Episode 5

Tonight, on the season three finale of FarmLand, the show drills into farmer concerns surrounding the new TB Stakeholder Forum report.

Hugh Farrell animal health and welfare chairman of the Irish Cattle Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) outlines why he believes the report – which contains a number of recommendations on new measures to reduce the levels of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) – is “incomplete”.

Although the report, recently submitted to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, outlines a raft of disease policy and governance measures to assist in eradicating TB by 2030 – Farrell highlights its lack of focus on the cost of TB – both financially and personally – inside the farm gate.

While elements of the disease policy strand were agreed, Farrell warns that compensation issues have not been resolved.

“A cost benefit analysis of the entire TB Eradication Programme has been commissioned by the department on behalf of the forum. This analysis will no doubt incur a significant cost and we must await its findings to progress the work of the forum,” warns Farrell.

Also, FarmLand reporter Emma Gilsenan travels to Wicklow to meet Newtownmountkennedy-based beef and sheep farmer Patrick Nuttall to discuss his battle TB breakdowns in recent years.

BEEP update

Meanwhile, Chris Daly of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) reveals how initial results from the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme are showing promising results for the suckler herd.

With more than 70,000 cow/calf pairs weighed to date as part of BEEP, Daly highlights that 5-star cows were 27kg lighter; yet their calves were 17kg heavier at 200 days-of-age – resulting in a 5% higher cow/calf weaning percentage than that of the 1-star cows.