Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 15 December 2018

Claim TB valuers fear losing jobs if they are deemed 'too favourable' to farmers

Ben Sweeney farm open day. Stock pic of cattle. Picture; Gerry Mooney.
Ben Sweeney farm open day. Stock pic of cattle. Picture; Gerry Mooney.
Researchers are undertaking projects to breed TB resistance into dairy and beef herds (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Department of Agriculture should allow valuers to do their job when it comes to the live valuation system for TB reactors, according to ICSA Animal Health and Welfare chairman Hugh Farrell.

He has said that when it comes to breeding stock, or animals with show potential, there has to be flexibility in the system to allow valuers to give an honest and true assessment of what an animal is worth.

“In these cases, average price ranges from thousands of animals sold in marts each week is meaningless,” he said.

Farrell also said that ICSA is concerned that too much subtle pressure is being put on valuers to avoid giving the real value of a high calibre cow or heifer.

“As it stands, the odds are stacked against a farmer who has TB reactors. While the farmer can appeal the valuation, so too can the Department.

“The panel is selected by the Department in the first case, but we hear stories of valuers being afraid that they will be removed from the panel if they are deemed too favourable to farmers,” he claimed.

Farrell said while everybody accepts that valuations should be accurate, it claimed is manifestly the case that some animals, particularly breeding animals, can be worth several hundred euros in excess of the typical price.

“Penny pinching over this is a pointless exercise in the context of the overall budget because we are only talking about a very small minority of animals.

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“However, where a farmer has spent years breeding livestock and has invested in having the best of stock, it is very upsetting and frustrating to see the Department second guessing experienced valuers. Moreover, the sense that valuers are looking over their shoulders all the time is out there and this is not acceptable.”

“Unless there is a strong body of evidence that a valuer is continuously getting it wrong, the Department should accept that at times, there will be stock that are much more valuable than any paper exercise in average values.” 

“We also need to ensure that compensation for reactors adequately reflects the impact of the loss of the cow. In cases, the cow will be a reactor before the calf is ready for weaning and at the same time, the calf will not be saleable. This will result in a loss of value in the calf which needs to be reflected in the price paid for the cow,” he said. 

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