Sheep farmers face massive hike in tagging costs


Michael Harrrington, Castletownbere, Co Cork, tagging his Scotch sheep at Kenmare Mart. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan
Michael Harrrington, Castletownbere, Co Cork, tagging his Scotch sheep at Kenmare Mart. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan
TJ Gormley with the sheep tags sold through Cormac Tagging.

Sheep farmers are facing a 70c increase in the price of a tag when new electronic tagging regulations come into effect on October 1, the owner of one of Ireland’s leading tagging companies has warned.

TJ Gormley, owner of Cormac Tagging, told the Farming Independent that sheep tag prices will increase from the current price of approximately 18c per tag to 95c per tag.

“There are still a lot of lads who haven’t bought tags and they’ll be in trouble because the price will go up come October 1,” he said.

“There’s a lot of sheep still not sold. Before, lads with 500 sheep were able to buy tags for €90 in total but now that will jump to around €475.

“It’s a huge increase and across the board, there are still a large amount of young and old farmers who aren’t aware of this – better communication is needed on it.”

Mr Gormley said that the company’s sales were affected due to the lack of clarity around EID (Electronic Identification) rules in June and July but that they jumped in August once Agriculture Minister Michael Creed clarified EID rules.

Mr Gormley said there is still confusion among farmers but expects those who have yet to purchase new tags to make last-minute purchases this month.

Pressure

“We should hopefully see a lot more sales during September but a lot of our staff will be at the Ploughing so this means we will be extra busy and under pressure,” he said.

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With effect from October 1, approved tag suppliers will only sell single electronic slaughter tags and electronic tag sets for all other movements. From June 1, 2019, all sheep moving off land will have to be identified electronically.

Mr Gormley added that he feels the move to an entirely EID system is ” a waste of time and money for farmers”.

ICSA sheep chair John Brooks said there is “massive confusion” on the rules.

“There is still massive confusion out there. It’s still not clear to farmers what they should do. Very few people are convinced that this will add value to the Irish product,” he said.

“Some are even stocking up on the current non-EID tags but they won’t be able to use them once June comes around. There’s lots of misinformation out there.”

IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy also said that in some cases farmers still don’t know where they stand on EID tags and need to remember that come June 1 they can only use EID tags.

The Department of Agriculture stated that it intends to communicate with farmers shortly to explain the details of the new arrangements on sheep EID.

Indo Farming

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