'New restrictions will hinder calf export trade'
Tighter restrictions on Certificates of Compliance for the movement of stock between farms could hinder the shipping trade for calves, the farm organisations warned this week.
Changes to the current regime, which will be implemented from February 4, mean movement certificates will be valid for 10 days rather than the current 30 days, while all certificates have to specify a destination herd.
The farm organisations said the new requirements make the off-farm sale and movement of calves more difficult during the busy spring calving season.
"This change will have a direct impact on those farmers who sell directly from their yard to different herd-owners who only choose calves on the day. It will undoubtedly slow or prevent these potential sales taking place," said ICMSA deputy president Lorcan McCabe.
"The reduction of the days allowed could mean more use of online facilities, but for many farmers in rural areas, with poor to non-existent broadband, there's likely to be a lot more paperwork and delays in selling calves."
Mr McCabe pointed out that around a quarter of all farmers used the paper-based applications last year, where the destination herd number could simply be written in at time of sale.
"The bottom line is that this change puts more pressure on farmers at the busiest time of the year and runs contrary to the Department's stated agenda of simplifying form-filling and regulation for farmers," said Mr McCabe.
IFA president Joe Healy said the tighter movement restrictions must not be allowed to hamper the calf export trade.