Brucellosis tests scaled back
The gradual scaling back of the Brucellosis testing programme is set to save farmers €3m in testing fees in 2013.
The three main changes are: a reduction in the testing levels required for beef herds to the same one-in-five level as dairy herds; the age threshold for the pre-movement test has been increased from 18 months to 24 months; and the 'one sale' Brucellosis rule will be abolished.
Minister Coveney said that the changes mean that only 20pc of the herds in the country will be subject to the annual round test in 2013. The testing programme is being gradually wound down since Ireland was declared free of Brucellosis in 2009. The latest changes remove another 550,000 from testing requirements.
However, Minister Coveney urged farmers to continue to be vigilant, and that the continuing existence of disease on the island warranted a cautious approach to the scaling down of any controls.