Farmers ordering tags early to avoid 38c/hd ICBF levy

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Louise Hogan

Farmers are looking at pre-ordering tags to avoid the 38c Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) levy, cattle tagging companies have confirmed.

There has been a mostly positive reaction to the agreement to reinstate the charge to support the breeding body for the dairy and beef industry.

However, Ursula Kelly from Galway-based Cormac Tagging, said farmers' reaction was dependent on the perceived benefits from the ICBF.

"When it resonates with farmers they are 100pc happy to pay the money. That is across the division between beef and dairy sectors," she said after discussing the issue with farmers at Tullamore Show.

"Where we are based it is mostly smaller suckler herds and they might not see as much benefit in contributing to the ICBF. There are 8,000 herds in Galway - 50pc have less 25 cows."

Ms Kelly said some orders had been lodged early with others inquiring about pre-ordering tags before November 1.

Liam Egan from the Eurotags division of Mullinahone Co-op, originally the sole provider of cattle tags, said the level of early orders was low but some did inquire at the show if they could pre-order. He reported little or no reaction overall. "We're near the end of the tag year and we've issued 2.1 million for the current year," he said. "We just have to work hard at it and give a good service to our customers. We always try to do that."

Datamars Richard Nolan said they have had little reaction but have a certain number of orders for tags at the moment.

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"We've dealt with larger dairy farmers and they have paid the levy as they saw the benefit of it," he said.

However, a number of logistical issues are expected to arise this winter as farmers change over from using old voluntary levy forms to the new forms.

Sean Coughlan of the ICBF, which received around €850,000 in funding from the levy, said they have encountered little reaction and any feedback has "been positive".

On early ordering of tags, he said "that's an individual choice for each farmer.

"At the end of the day, it translates to around €6/year for the average suckler farmer, and around €30/year for the average dairy farmer.

"We take the long-term view that it is in farmers' best interest to retain ownership and control of ICBF.

"We are thankful to farmers and to the Minister for supporting that view."

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