The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has approved six marts to read electronic sheep tags.

All sheep farmers, since June 1, 2019, have been required to tag all sheep and lambs with electronic identification (EID) tags.

The six marts that have been approved – to read EID tags as a Central Point of Recording (CPR) – include: Carnaross Mart; Clare Co-Operative Mart; Newross Mart; and Cork Co-Operative Marts in Fermoy, Macroom and Cahir.

Currently, there are five sheep plants that have been approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as a CPR as of June 5, 2019.

These include:

  • Dawn Meats: Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo;
  • Irish Country Meats: Navan, Co. Meath;
  • Irish Country Meats: Camolin, Co. Wexford;
  • Kepak Ltd: Athleague, Co. Roscommon;
  • Kildare Chilling Company: Kildare Town, Co. Kildare.

The new software module allows the mart to use the new Government Animal Identification Movement or AIM Ovine interface for sheep.

The EID is used to scan electronic tags on sheep as they enter the mart.

All sheep, including lambs presented for sale, must be identified with a full-set of EID tags. That is one conventional tag in the animal’s left ear and a corresponding electronic tag placed in the right ear.

Seeking approval

The department has received applications for 44 marts – representing 91% of mart throughput in 2018.

The applications have been made to seek approval to operate as a CPR, or have submitted a declaration of interest to operate as a CPR.

It is not mandatory for marts and slaughter plants to operate as approved CPRs, according to the department.