TB income supplement ceiling lifted

Pat McCormack of the ICMSA
Pat McCormack of the ICMSA
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

The 100 animal ceiling on income supplements for farmers whose herds have been impacted by TB will be lifted as part of the first revision of the payment scheme in 20 years.

The changes to the TB compensation scheme will see the income supplement for dairy cows increased from €25.39 a month per cow to €55.

The ICMSA's Pat McCormack described the changes as positive but they still "fell short" in relation to full compensation for those unfortunate enough to be restricted due to TB.

Mr McCormack said the inclusion of dairy farmers in the hardship grant scheme while supplying milk was also progress. However, he said the reduction in the depopulation grant for dairy animals was "unjustified" with the massive income loss faced by a dairy farmer losing animals.

"The reduction in the EBI payment per unit from €1.35 to 50c is a most retrograde step," he said. The ceiling on payments has been increased from €2,800 to €3,000 for a bovine, €3,500 to €4,000 for a stock bull and €5,000 for a pedigree bull.

However, the IFA's animal health chair Bert Stewart said this would still leave farmers with high value animals "at a loss".

Mr Stewart said separate categories for served heifers and those with breeding potential does ensure a fairer valuation of the animals. He said the increase in the depopulation grant for suckler cows by 19pc brings it in line with the income supplement rate of €38 per month per cow and addresses some of the shortcomings for suckler farmers who lose their entire herd.

The Agriculture Department said it would be willing to allocate herd numbers to farmers where they have parcels of land where there are no cattle currently to allow them buy in.

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However, Mr Stewart said the issues needed further clarity.

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