Irish use of antibiotics in livestock among lowest in Europe
Ireland is in a good position to deal with EU legislation on potential antibiotic restrictions in livestock, the MSD Animal Health conference heard on Thursday.

The EU is due to introduce restrictions on antibiotic use in food animals over the next three years. Irish use is quite low, the MSD animal health conference in the RDS heard, putting us in a good position to deal with the new rules.

Irish farmers use one-eighth the amount of antibiotics used by farmers in Spain on a per-animal basis

“A recent EU report shows that Ireland is near the bottom of the European league in the use of antibiotics in animals,” Fergal Morris, director of ruminant business with MSD Animal Health, said at the conference. “Irish farmers use one-eighth the amount of antibiotics used by farmers in Spain on a per-animal basis, which is the highest user of antibiotics in the EU.

“Farmers in Italy use seven times more antibiotics than their Irish counterparts while the average German farmer uses three times more than the average Irish producer.”

Grass-based

The lower usage of antibiotics is a reflection of our grass-based milk, beef and sheep production and the relatively low levels of intensive pig and poultry production.

“This is due to the strict biosecurity policies which are used by producers combined with a big increase in recent years in vaccination of pigs and poultry to protect against the major disease threats,” Morris said.

Antibiotic use by farmers in the Netherlands has been reduced by more than 50% over the past seven years. However, overall antibiotic use is still around 50% higher than in Ireland.

“In the Netherlands and Belgium, use of critically important antibiotics (CIAs) has been cut by more than 90%,” he said.

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Kildare farmer's plea for information on stolen trailer
Several incidents of trailer theft have been reported across the country in recent weeks.

A 5x10 Nugent trailer has been stolen from a farm near the Curragh, Co Kildare. The trailer was purchased new from CM Plant Sales Ltd with the company branding still on the sides.

The Kildare farmers initials ‘AD’ are stamped on the trailer in several places and the local Garda branch at Newbridge has been notified of the chassis number.

Anyone who has seen the trailer or can help with its recovery is asked to contact Newbridge Garda station on 045 431 212.

Series of thefts

Cattle, trailers, quads and many more agricultural assets have been stolen from farms across rural Ireland in recent weeks. Just last month a quad was stolen from a Co Meath farm.

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Agricultural businesses in the running for €40,000 enterprise awards prize fund
The National Enterprise Awards celebrate Ireland’s small businesses with specific awards included, focusing on start-ups, innovation and exports.

Agricultural businesses are in the running for the investment prize fund of €40,000 at the National Enterprise Awards Finals on 29 May. The awards, an initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, celebrate Ireland’s small businesses from all across the country with specific awards focusing on start-ups, innovation and exports.

Last year’s winners Terra NutriTech are an AgTech company, backed by Local Enterprise Office Kildare. Established by brothers Padraig and Tom Hennessy, their company specialises in precision liquid supplementation for livestock.

Brothers Tom and Padraig Hennessy of Terra NutriTech who announced a €2m investment, expansion into six countries in 2019 and plans to double their workforce by 2021. \ Jeff Harvey

Since winning in 2018, Terra NutriTech have become a client company of Enterprise Ireland, adding a further seven staff and hope to double their workforce by 2021 following a recent €2m investment.

“It is much more than just awards. The businesses involved avail of mentoring and guidance as the process develops and generate connections and leads from other businesses along the way.

"They also receive signposting for their business helping them to move their company forward, irrespective of whether they win an award,” Breda Fox, chair of the National Enterprise Awards Committee with the Local Enterprise Offices, said.

“Those who do take part always see the benefit. Our winners are now employing over 830 people and are exporting across the world with annual revenues in excess of €130m.”

Finalists

Agricultural finalists:

  • Clonmel Covers, Tipperary: manufacturing windbreakers for farm buildings, as well as waterproof covers for trucks, boats and machine covers.
  • NeighbourFood, Cork city: an online platform that facilitates the sale of local products direct from producers to consumers by means of a weekly collection point. With 13 locations currently across the UK and Ireland, NeighbourFood hopes to have nationwide collection points by the end of 2019.
  • VirtualVet, Waterford: an international data management company that tracks drug usage in animals in the food chain. VirtualVet and agricultural food partners work together to change drug use behaviour in the food chain.
  • Class Grass Limited T/A The Field, Roscommon: supplies a range of hand-crafted model toy field products to Irish, UK, European and US markets.
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    EU adopts new rules on fertiliser quality and safety
    The new fertiliser rules will cover all types of fertiliser in the EU and will set limits on contaminants such as cadmium.

    The EU has adopted new rules for fertiliser products placed on the European market aimed at ensuring their quality and safety.

    The regulation harmonises the requirements for fertilisers produced from phosphate minerals and from organic or secondary raw materials. It sets limits for contaminants in fertiliser such as cadmium and outlines labelling requirements.

    Cadmium and other fertiliser contaminants can potentially pose a risk to human, animal and plant health as well as the environment.

    Rules

    Nearly half of the fertilisers on the EU market are not covered by the existing legislation, the 2003 Fertilisers Regulation. Existing rules cover mainly conventional fertilisers, typically extracted from mines or produced chemically while the new regulation will cover all types of fertiliser.

    The Romanian Minister of Economy Niculae Badalau, who oversaw the passing of the regulation, said: “These new rules will ensure that only fertilisers that meet high quality and safety EU-wide requirements and standards can be sold freely across the EU.”

    Fertilisers which fulfil the new requirements will bear the "CE" marking and benefit from free circulation in the internal market of the EU. Fertilisers that do not bear the CE marking will still have the possibility of placing them on their national market.

    The limits for cadmium content in CE-marked phosphate fertilisers will be 60mg/kg.

    Organic fertilisers

    The regulation should prove a boost to the production and use of phosphate fertilisers with low cadmium content and of organic fertilisers. Minister Badalau said it would provide a greater choice to farmers oriented towards more environmental-friendly agriculture.

    The regulations will now be signed and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Following its publication it will enter into force after 20 days and start applying from three years after that.

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