The ban on the slaughter of calves aged under eight weeks was agreed this week at a meeting of the Bord Bia technical advisory committee.

A new text, outlining the new rules, is being drafted and is set to be included in the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) later this year.

While there are still some issues to be worked out in terms of how it will be enforced and the sharing of data between State bodies, the Irish Farmers Journal understands that farmers who persistently fail to comply will see their SDAS approval withdrawn, resulting in the processor not having to collect their milk.

It is expected that farmers will still be subject to the rule even if they sell their calves to a third party and they are subsequently slaughtered under eight weeks of age.

Tirlán, the largest milk processor in the country, announced on Tuesday that it was changing its milk supply rules to say that calves from herds supplying to Tirlán cannot be slaughtered under eight weeks of age.

As of last week, there were 23,448 calves slaughtered so far in 2023, 1.9% of all calves registered to date.