The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has stated that vets testing cattle under the Department of Agriculture’s TB eradication programme have received a pay increase.

The Department upped the rate it pays vets for testing cattle in October.

Vets who tested cattle over the past three years will also receive a backdated payment top-up.

This top-up should be received in December, the minister told a Veterinary Ireland conference in Mullingar on Friday.

The higher rates reverse cuts to vets' pay made by the Government after the 2008-2009 financial crash.

“The new payment rates were applied in October and my officials are working to process the back payments for the previous years, and my intention is that these payments will issue before the new year,” Minister McConalogue said.

BVD free by next year

Minister McConalogue also stated that Ireland is set to achieve BVD free status by next year.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, the minister said that this could “potentially” pave the way for the compulsory BVD tissue tagging of calves to end as early as 2024.

“To achieve BVD freedom under the new animal health law, Ireland must complete 18 months without a confirmed case of BVD, with 99.8% of herds, covering 99.9% of the cattle population, categorised as BVD-free,” he explained at the conference.

“Ireland has realised two of these targets and 2023 should see us achieve our final target with less than 0.2% of herds disclosing a test positive animal.”