Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Farmers ready to fund disease eradication scheme

Martin Ryan

A groundswell of interest is emerging from Munster dairy farmers for an efficient disease eradication scheme to tackle the spread of diseases such as IBR, BVD, and Johnes.

Farmers at the Limerick IFA county AGM last week expressed strong support for an eradication scheme to be funded, if necessary, by herd owners. In the absence of available State funding for an eradication scheme, such an initiative would be in the interests of farmers, the AGM heard.

Both the IFA and ICMSA have refused to back any proposal which would require farmers to fully fund an eradication programme.

The meeting in Adare also endorsed a proposal that it should be made a legal requirement for owners of herds infected with IBR, BVD or Johnes to inform farmers purchasing animals from them.


Such a move would help control the spread of the diseases the meeting was told.

Earlier, farmers heard that baby food was now the biggest export for the Irish dairy industry.

The Irish infant formula industry now supplies almost a fifth of the world baby food market.

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Michael Gabbett, a former vice-chairman of Kerry Co-op, told his fellow farmers that he would be seriously concerned at any delay in tackling the complete eradication of the new infections.

"It is so important for the image of Irish food that we maintain our high standards and disease free status," he said.


"It could be penny wise and pound foolish for farmers to put off an eradication programme because the Department [of Agriculture] will not provide funding for a scheme.

"It should not cost an awful lot and it would be a very wise investment for farmers because we don't want any of these infections to spread and I would be very concerned about delaying an eradication programme," he added.

Limerick IFA chairman, Eddie Scanlan, pointed out that the county executive had warned about the risks of importing some of these infections when the restrictions on cattle imports were lifted a number of years ago.

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