The veterinary inspection fee payable on live exports of calves under three months of age are to be reduced to €1.20 per animal, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has announced.

Before the reduction the fee for calves under three months was €4.80.

This reduction will bring greater equity in respect of fees payable per consignment for calves, weanlings and adult cattle, the Department of Agriculture has said.

Fees payable on bovine animals over three months of age are to remain at €4.80 per animal. The reduced fee will apply from February 1.

Announcing the reduction in fees, the Minister said that he is very conscious of the vital role that live exports play in stimulating price competition for domestic cattle and providing an alternative market outlet for farmers.

“In relation to veterinary inspection fees on live exports, I accept that the fees payable on younger bovines have been somewhat disproportionate on a consignment basis relative to older animals.”

I have now moved to correct that anomaly and I am satisfied that this new arrangement is more equitable and should help to encourage exports.

“Total live exports of cattle amounted to 145,575 in 2016. The continental market for young calves has traditionally been important for dairy farmers, providing an important source of income and underpinning the market for such stock.

“The export of these calves reduces the potential for over-supply of adult cattle at a later stage, which would put the beef market under pressure”.

The Minister said that his Department will issue a trader notice with the revised schedule of fees and levies relating to the live exports of animals.

The Department has noted that there are no changes in respect of the disease eradication and Bord Bia levies, which continue to apply as heretofore.

‘A positive boost to the live export trade’

IFA President Joe Healy has strongly welcomed the positive decision from Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to reduce inspection charges on calf exports by 75% from €4.80 to €1.20 per head.

He said this is a very positive boost to the live export trade for calves and comes at a vital time when calf sales are reaching their peak.

Healy said IFA has been working hard to reduce charges on live exports and this decision by Minister Creed is worth about €1,100 on each load of calf exports.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said, along with the solid market demand from Holland, Spain and other countries, the announcement from Minister Creed is a very positive step for the live export trade, which is vital for price competition and market outlets.

Woods said IFA has prioritised the live export trade this year and worked hard to drive a strong calf export trade.

He said seven loads of calves were already exported this week and the feedback from our key markets in Holland and Spain is encouraging.

Calf health is very important in these markets and reminded farmers to ensure that only strong well-presented calves are presented for sale, he said.

Woods said IFA has been working with the Department of Agriculture, exporters and Bord Bia to maximise all live export opportunities. He said IFA expected some more positive news on exports to Turkey very shortly. In addition, IFA is pushing to get the live export certificate to Egypt improved to address issues on fattening cattle and quarantine.