New regime needed to replace the stress of penalties system
I had my Bord Bia inspection, which went really well. The letter they sent out in advance of the inspection highlighted areas that I needed to attend to and was very helpful. Now that I can see the benefits in terms of getting paid for being quality assured, my initial scepticism of the whole process has eased.
I used to think that there was a lot of unnecessary duplication in the process, but the fact that they give you over a month's notice for the inspection makes a lot of sense.
If you pass your Bord Bia inspection, generally speaking, you should have very little to worry about should you get a Department of Agriculture inspection.
By comparison, I think that the system of penalites as used by the Department is not constructive and unfair. Neither the farmer nor the Department inspector, as far as I can see, wants to put a farmer through the stress of incurring a penalty and I really hope that a new regime, such as the card system being mooted by the IFA, can be brought in.
Also, it would be helpful to know what penalties are the most common and perhaps the Department could issue the top 10 'big ones' that people fall down on.
I dosed all my ewes with Endofluke, which has a 56-day withdrawal date and covers all stages of the life cycle of the fluke. Although no fluke has come up in my lambs, I don't like to take chances and I find it is safer to dose them.
The remaining lambs are coming fit and I could have the majority of them gone by Christmas. However, I am not too inclined to give them away either. I'm going to wait until the price gets to €5/kg and if it means waiting till after Christmas, I will.
The overall grass situation on the farm is excellent. I have nearly 50pc of the farm closed off for next spring since the end of October and I will manage to get my ewes into the new year before I have to house them post scanning.