Calf exports under threat from lack of breeding data
Full breed information will have to be provided for all calves offered for sale in marts if the multi-million euro export market for Irish calves is to be protected, farmer representatives claimed this week.
Representatives of both ICMSA and IFA warned that the absence of accurate breed information risks doing serious damage to the live trade for calves from Ireland.
The identity of both sire and dam on the official ID card and full breed information at the point of sale is being called for as a matter of urgency.
Des Morrison, ICMSA beef chairman, said that the organisation was aware of serious concerns among export customers.
He said continental veal units were not getting the expected weight gains and he cited the increased use of Jersey crosses in the dairy herd as the main problem.
"The progeny of these dairy animals that are crossed to Angus bulls are almost impossible to identify at a young age and they are going out of the country as Angus crosses, but the buyers on the continent soon realise what they have because the stock are not performing," Mr Morrison said.
"Farmers have to accept the primary responsibility for this and I believe that the farm organisations and ICOS also have a role to play in protecting our vital export markets for calves," he added.
He suggested that in the short term farmers offering these calves at sales should voluntarily provide accurate breeding information to the auctioneer/mart, while arrangements are put in place to have both sire and dam shown on the official ID cards.