From July next year, all newborn calves will have to have an electronic identification (EID) tag, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced.

From 1 January 2022, all approved cattle tag suppliers will be required to supply an EID tag with all new tag orders, the Department of Agriculture has said.

Each new tag set will include one EID tag and one tissue tag. EID tags will be white in colour. The colour of conventional and tissue tags will remain yellow.

From 1 July 2022, it will be a legal requirement on farmers to officially identify all newborn calves with a tag set containing an EID tag.

Financial package for farmers

Minster McConalogue said the Department “is currently working on a tag subvention scheme to assist herd keepers in offsetting the additional cost of the EID tag, the details of which will be announced as soon as it is finalised”.

Mandatory cattle EID tags will deliver substantial improvements in the bovine identification system for farmers, livestock marts, slaughter plants, export assembly centres and veterinarians, according to the Department.

It said it will lead to a safer working environment for all stakeholders, with less reliance on manual checking of bovine tag numbers.

“Herd keepers and livestock marts will save time that is currently involved in making amendment applications associated with misreading of animals and mismatched passports when cattle are moving off the holding,” it said.


Minister McConalogue said that Ireland is recognised as having one of the best bovine traceability systems in the world and has consistently innovated in this area, which has enabled Ireland access valuable markets abroad for their animals and products.

“Notwithstanding the success so far, the time is now opportune to introduce mandatory bovine EID.

"This decision recognises advancements in the international marketplace and seeks to take advantage of newer technologies to enhance and future-proof the Irish bovine traceability system.

“Such a system can eliminate tag reading errors and bring greater efficiency to animal handling on farms and at other handling points. Bovine EID will strengthen Ireland’s traceability credentials in the marketplace, for both animals and products of animal origin.”