The current method of determining valuations for certain categories of animals under the TB Compensation Scheme requires a review.

An anomaly in the TB Compensation Scheme was reportedly raised at the meeting of the Farmers Charter Monitoring Committee in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, earlier today by the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).

ICOS National Marts Executive Ray Doyle outlined how the society believes an additional compensatory premium for dairy cows in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th lactation should be issued to farmers as part of the scheme.

These animals have an inherently higher value, but are rarely ever traded – making it difficult to set a true and fair value for them within the scheme, ICOS argued.

Under the TB eradication scheme, on-farm market valuation is the principal compensation measure available to herd owners whose herds are affected by the disease.

The amount of compensation is determined by a valuer or arbitrator in line with current department guidelines. Currently, the valuation of reactors is based on the market value established by nominated valuers – who are most usually auctioneers at marts and other sales venues, ICOS explained.

According to Doyle, there is no issue getting a “true and fair value” for in-calf heifers or cull cows where the pricing of these animals is widely known and recognised in the market.

“However, for dairy herds with animals in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th lactation, the true market value of these premier animals is rarely paid to the farmer.

After all of the investment that the farmer has made in their rearing, including genetics, these type of cows are rarely presented for sale due to their inherently high value.

“The compensatory scheme does not take account of that and operates to the disadvantage of the farmer. Animals at 2nd, 3rd and 4th lactation stage are worth considerably more than in-calf heifer or cull cows and we need to have a template which accurately reflects the value of these animals.

“The compensation scheme is a very important mechanism that is designed to support farmers, but it must be seen to operate fairly and equitably; the best way to do that is to accord additional value to premium grade animals, in which so much has been invested on the farm,” Doyle concluded.