IFA: Farm-to-farm restrictions on calves could damage trade

Restrictions on farm-to-farm movement of calves “fail to recognise the practical reality of the marketplace”, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The IFA is calling on Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to reconsider the restrictions.

The organisation’s president, Joe Healy, called the regulations by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine “unnecessary”, and said they could damage trade.

“Ahead of the peak sale time for calves, these restrictions by the department could damage trade in a year when we need to see the doubling of numbers exported. We should be removing obstacles, not adding them,” said Healy.

Healy said that farmers had concerns with the restrictions, which would, the IFA warned, interfere in the market.

Meanwhile, the IFA’s national animal health chairman, Pat Farrell, said the department must facilitate the movement of younger calves to farms where replacement calves are needed for suckler cows, including calves that are under 10 days-of-age.

Farrell echoed Healy’s comments, warning that the various restrictions, including the validity period of farm-to-farm compliance certificates, and the requirement to identify the destination herd, would “impact the functioning of the market”.

Farrell argued that the restrictions were unnecessary, especially the identification of the destination herd.

He added that farmers that rely on paper-based systems of administration would be particularly affected.