New cattle tags planned for 2016
New cattle tags are expected to be brought in next year to comply with EU rules on electronic identification.
Under the proposals, the Agriculture Department is proposing to change the numbers on cattle tags to ensure that the numbering system is compatible with the EU-wide electronic identification (EID) format by November next year.
Currently Ireland and the UK are the only EU member states that have not adopted the new EID compatible system.
The country identifier of IE is expected to be dropped with '372' used for Ireland.
All the tag numbers in Ireland start with numbers identifying the counties, however, under the new number system just three numbers have been reserved for cattle.
The ICMSA said it was disappointing that the county identifier was being removed. The farming group stated they hoped this would be the last change to cattle tagging for the foreseeable future.
It's understood that the department does not intend to bring in compulsory EID of cattle.
It has pointed out that the change will aid a move towards new bovine electronic identification legislation while ensuring the numbering system does not hinder live exports.