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BVD tests cut in price

Suppliers to Dairygold will be able to avail of discounted rates on BVD tissue analyses after Enfer entered into a special arrangement with the co-op.

Farmers will pay €3.90 per sample instead of the standard €4.20 and the bills for the tests will be automatically deducted from their milk cheques.

However, the IFA has warned the labs which are testing for the BVD programme that it will be demanding that Animal Health Ireland (AHI) removes them from the programme if rates do not decrease. AHI chairman John Waters said that before the programme started, labs were charging €4-4.50 for both the test and the sample tag.

"Given the economies of scale, there is no justification for not reducing significantly the cost of diagnostic testing," he said.

Europol has issued a warning about the growing trade in counterfeit pesticides, which is worth billions of euro each year.

The use of illegal pesticides is concentrated in northeast Europe, where more than 25pc of pesticides in some member states do not meet regulatory standards. The problem is not thought to directly affect Ireland.

Europol claimed illegal pesticides threatened the health of farmers and consumers and posed environmental risks.

Two multi-tonne shipments of illegal pesticides, intercepted in Eastern Europe, contained substances banned in the EU.

A new virus affecting cattle, sheep and goats has been identified by scientists in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.

The Schmallenberg virus causes mild clinical signs of disease and congenital malformations, mainly in sheep and, to a lesser degree, in cattle and goats.

Cases of the disease -- which is thought to be transmitted by insects -- have been detected in 20 farms in Germany (in cattle and sheep), in 52 farms in the Netherlands (in sheep and in one case of a goat), and on 14 farms in Belgium (sheep only).

Elsewhere, the IFA has welcomed the Defence and Dwelling Act proposed by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, allowing homeowners to defend themselves from burglars.

IFA vice president Eddie Downey also called on Mr Shatter to start a Rural Forum, made up of representatives of An Garda Síochána and community groups.

Indo Farming