A joint IFA, ICOS and ICMSA delegation travelled to Cherbourg this week to meet with calf lairage operators Jean Luc Pignet and the owners of the Qualivia Cherbourg lairage, Robert and Valerie Drique.
The purpose of the visit was to review with the operators their experience of spring 2019, and assess the feasibility of making additional capacity available for spring 2020.
The delegation, made up of IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Tom Phelan, ICOS Mart Chairman Liam Williams, as well as IFA, ICOS and ICMSA executives, respectively, Catherine Lascurettes, Ray Doyle and Aine O’Connell, came away from those discussions with two main points.
Firstly, there is a very strong likelihood of obtaining additional capacity at the Cherbourg lairages in time for Spring 2020, which should be adequate to eliminate capacity-related problems during the busy spring period.
Secondly, and very importantly, the ability to use this increased capacity will require a co-ordinated approach by exporters to bookings with ferry companies and the lairage operators. The capacity on farms to hold calves for a little longer when they cannot travel due to weather issues will also be needed.
ICOS, IFA and ICMSA will convey these important points to the Department of Agriculture officials at the earliest opportunity because it is imperative that the Dept regulate and take ownership of this issue.