Farm Ireland

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Knackeries question end of BVD subsidy

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Department of Agriculture officials and knackery plants have become embroiled in a row over payments for calves disposed of through the BVD eradication scheme.

It centres on a subsidy of €15/hd for the disposal of BVD positive calves that was included in the voluntary scheme in 2012 but expired when the scheme became compulsory on January 1 this year.

While the majority of knackeries were aware that the €15 subsidy was due to lapse on January 1, some knackery owners believed the payment was still in place and continued to take in calves without charging farmers. In fact, a number of knackeries claimed that when they called the Department of Agriculture in Johnstown Castle to check if the payment was still in place, they were told it was.

One knackery owner who did not wish to be named said they had been told as recently as 10 days ago by officials in Johnstown Castle that the €15/hd payment was still being paid. Another knackery owner maintained he had disposed of more than 150 calves without charging farmers anything, in the belief that he would be reimbursed by the Department.

A spokesperson for the Animal Collectors Association said it had asked for clarification on the matter from the Department of Agriculture.

More than one million tissue test samples have now been processed since the BVD eradication scheme was introduced in January 2012.

Close to 670,000 samples have been submitted since the compulsory scheme was launched on January 1, 2013.

Some 0.8pc of the samples received so far in 2013 have tested positive, which would translate to around 5,300 BVD positive calves on the ground. These calves cannot be sold off the farm and should be culled from the herd as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of BVD to other animals.

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Last year, the positive rate was lower at 0.61pc, but this increase had been expected, as the scheme now includes all herds nationwide and not just the small number of herds that volunteered in 2012.

Irish Independent