Cow Sellers Safe But Buyers To Be Impacted By New TB Test Rules

Farmers who purchase cows and male cattle over 36 months of age will be impacted by the new rules on bovine Tuberculosis (TB) testing, but only in certain cases.

Changes to the rules on TB testing for cows and male cattle over 36 months of age that are being sold at marts or from farm to farm have come into effect today (Wednesday, February 1).

The new regulations have caused some level of confusion among farmers who sell cows and cull stock bulls either at marts or privately and a number of marts have recently took to Facebook to clarify the new rules to farmers.

The rule change, is required under the EU Animal Health Law according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Golden Vale Marts (GVM) Group reminded farmers that sellers will not be impacted as they can still sell all animals (including cull cows) at any mart once they are within their current annual herd tests.

The buyer may be required to do a post movement test if the purchased animal was not tested six months prior to the sale and originates from a herd that wasn’t tested within the last six months.

While sellers will not be directly impacted by the rule change, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s (ICSA’s) animal health chair Hugh Farrell has expressed concern that the new regulations could impact the value of the livestock which the new rules apply to.

TB testing protocols for feedlot-status herds will not be affected by the new regulation.

70,000 Cattle Impacted

Speaking to Agriland, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) animal health chairperson TJ Maher outlined that the IFA expects up to 70,000 cattle could be impacted by the rule change.

He explained that under the new regulations, all cows and male cattle over 36 months of age that are moving from farm to farm or through a mart and have not been TB tested within six months before the sale date, will be restricted to the buyers’ herd and should be tested within 30 days of purchase.

He explained that most cull cows are slaughtered within 90 days of purchase and said the rule change will primarily impact farmers who buy suckler cows or surplus dairy cows to keep on for milking in their herd.

Maher explained that if the animal is slaughtered within 90 days of purchase, there is no requirement to test.

If the animal in question is still in the herd 90 days after the purchase date and has not been tested, a full herd test will be required.

He explained : “Buyers will have a total of 90 days from buying the animal to having the animal slaughtered. If you go to the factory with the animal within 90 days of purchase, there is no issue.”

An announcement on payment details for the new testing regulation is expected soon. Stay tuned to Agriland for further updates on this story.

(Source – Agriland – Breifne O Brien – 01/02/2023)

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