The cost to farmers of compulsory EID tags for cattle will be €2.5m, with additional costs associated with the move when the purchase of EID readers is accounted for, according to the IFA’s animal health chair Pat Farrell.

The IFA has stated its belief that the compulsory use of EID tags for dairy and beef herds will benefit industry stakeholders but not farmers. Small farmers would find the requirement especially challenging, Farrell added.

He also called on the Government to allocate adequate funding for farmers making the transition from conventional to electronic tags to lessen the impact of the decision on farm costs.

Increased costs

The farms which could benefit from electronic tagging have already adopted their usage, argued Farrell.

“While there are management benefits for some large farms, these farms can and are already using EID,” he stated.

The farms which will not see benefits from their use will be in the majority, according to the IFA.

“The vast majority of suckler and dairy farms will only experience increased costs for tags and readers, while meat factories, factory feedlots, exporters, marts, Department of Agriculture inspectors and vets will accrue the benefits from compulsory EID,” Farrell said.

Tight margins

Farrell also stressed the importance in compensating farmers for the management decision.

“The vast majority of benefits associated with EID tagging will not be experienced by the farmer. Many farmers are already in a very low-income enterprise and it’s vital that any additional cost being enforced on them is fully covered,” Farrell said.