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ICOS Marts has requested the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to review the current method of valuations for certain categories of animals under the TB compensation scheme.

ICOS Livestock Executive, Ray Doyle, outlined an anomaly arising in the current system to Department of Agriculture representatives at today’s meeting of the Farmers Charter Monitoring Committee in Portlaoise.

In particular, ICOS proposed the payment of an additional compensatory premium for cows in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th lactation as these animals have an inherently higher value, but are rarely ever traded, making it difficult to set a true and fair value for them within the scheme.

Under the TB eradication scheme, On-Farm Market Valuation is the principal compensation measure available to herd owners whose herds are affected by disease. The amount of compensation is determined by a valuer or arbitrator in line with current Department guidelines.

Currently, the valuation of reactors is based on the market value established by nominated valuers who are most usually auctioneers at marts and other sales venues.

ICOS Livestock Executive, Ray Doyle said, “There is no issue getting true and fair value for in-calf heifers or cull cows where the pricing of these animals is widely known and recognised in the market. However, for dairy herds with animals in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th lactation, the true market value of these premier animals is rarely paid to the farmer.

“After all of the investment that the farmer has made in their rearing, including genetics, these type of cows are rarely presented for sale due to their inherently high value.  The compensatory scheme does not take account of that and operates to the disadvantage of the farmer.”

“Animals at 2nd, 3rd and 4th lactation stage are worth considerably more than in-calf heifer or cull cows and we need to have a template which accurately reflects the value of these animals.  The compensation scheme is a very important mechanism that is designed to support farmers but it must be seen to operate fairly and equitably and the best way to do that is to accord additional value to premium grade animals in which so much has been invested on the farm,” said Doyle.