All sheep are required to be identified electronically according to a statement released today by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.
The mandatory rules will apply to all sheep sold from October 1st 2018 onwards. This timeframe will allow farmers a reasonable period of time to use up stocks of tags on hand.
Lambs under 12 months of age moving directly to slaughter from the holding of birth will be required to be identified with a single electronic tag.
All other sheep will require an EID tag set comprised of two tags – one conventional tag and a corresponding electronic tag. However a conventional tag and an EID bolus will be permitted also.
The Minister added that he intends to introduce a one off support measure up to a maximum of €50 per keeper for the first purchase of EID tags.
Minister Creed said that the new rules to be implemented will ensure a stronger and simplified “sheep traceability system”. This, in turn, will help the Irish sheep sector to grow and become more attractive to international markets.
“The simplified rules will provide a more robust sheep traceability system and will further support the development and sustainability of the sheep industry.
“The improved traceability system will assist in maintaining existing markets and in securing new international outlets for Irish sheep meat, in line with the development goals for the sheep industry, as detailed in the Food Wise 2025 strategy.”
He added that: “This measure will simplify the sheep tagging system and will significantly reduce the record keeping requirements for sheep farmers moving sheep to livestock marts, slaughter plants and export assembly centres”.
The Minister further announced that electronic tag readers and associated software are included as eligible investments in the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) scheme to assist sheep farmers in flock management.
He stressed, however, that tag readers are not a requirement for the new sheep identification system.