The biggest input on most Irish livestock farms is animal compound feed.

Ireland annually produces approximately 3.7m tonnes of animal feed with an estimated value of over €1 billion.

The Minister for Agriculture this week outlined farmers rights in relation to the purchase of animal feed.

According to the Minister, the regulations governing the the placing on the market and use of feed requires that manufacturers of feed are required to ensure that feed is sound, genuine, unadulterated, fit for purpose and of merchantable quality.

In addition, the regulation provides that the labelling and presentation of feed shall not mislead the user as to, inter alia, its composition, properties, nature or method of manufacture.

Furthermore, Minister Coveney said the regulation lists permitted tolerances for the compositional labelling of feed materials or compound feed.

Accordingly, feed manufacturers are required to set out clearly on a label the composition of the animal feed for sale, within the permitted tolerances.

The Minister said if it is the case that an end-user of animal feedingstuffs is of the view that the composition of a feed is at variance with its label details, they should raise this matter with the feed manufacturer in the first instance.

If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, he said the end-user may have a sample of the feed in question independently analysed.

According to the Minister the end-user may report the issue to the Department of Agriculture, who will, if considered appropriate, follow up independently with the feed manufacturer.

In the event that the animal feedingstuff is found to be in contravention of tolerances, the Department will carry out appropriate follow-up and enforcement as required with the feed manufacturer, the Minster said.