IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said the increased level of PI disposal from farms is welcome, and crucial in the context of the BVD eradication programme achieving its objectives. He said farmers have made huge investments in the BVD programme and the increased levels of support have proven vital to off-set some of these costs for those identifying PI calves, in order to assist in their early removal from farms.
However, the IFA chairman said the very strong case remains for a higher level of support for the small number of farmers who identify a disproportionate number of PI calves on their farms. “IFA have again put the case to the Department of Agriculture to increase the level of supports to €250 per calf where more than 10% of calves on a farm are identified as PIs. It should be possible to provide this support within the existing financial allocation for the scheme.”
Bert Stewart went on to say the next challenge in the scheme is to ensure farmers who have completed three years of expensive tissue tag testing are provided with a lower-cost testing option. There are over 7,000 farmers in this category for 2015. He said the details of the type of testing and the costs involved for this group of farmers will have to be finalised over the coming weeks.