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Animal health issues discussed

February 10th, 2018 7:25 PM

By Southern Star Team

Tomás Bourke (left), IFA National Animal Health Executive, seen with officers of West Cork IFA at their AGM in Dunmanway - from left - Jerry O'Sullivan (treasurer), Gerard Burke (PRO), Micheál Looney (secretary) and Corney Buckley (chairman).

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THE annual general meeting of West Cork IFA took place recently at the Parkway Hotel in Dunmanway, presided over by the West Cork chairman, Corney Buckley. 

The guest speaker was Tomás Bourke, IFA Animal Health Executive, who covered a wide range of issues related to animal health. He outlined how the reductions achieved in the levels of TB nationally have been maintained in the past year. 

However, a number of counties continue to experience unacceptably high levels of TB. In many cases, this is primarily due to a less-than-effective wildlife control programme. The IFA has engaged with the Dept of Agriculture nationally and at local level to enhance the implementation of the programme and this is showing improvements in these areas.

The levels of TB in West Cork reduced significantly since the mid 2000s and is currently keeping pace with national reductions. The challenge for the next phase of the TB programme is to push towards eradication in the shortest timeframes possible, while avoiding increased cost burdens for farmers.

The IFA is actively pursuing changes to the live valuation scheme to ensure farmers are afforded the opportunity to attain the full market value of animals removed as TB reactors. Significant progress continues to be achieved in reducing the prevalence of BVD in the national herd. Stronger support payments for farmers disposing of PIs were provided in 2017. The number of PIs identified annually has reduced from almost 14,000 in 2013 to around 2,250 in 2017.

Phase 1 of the National Johnes Control Programme was launched in the past year. This element of the programme is primarily based on education and awareness campaigns and workshops run by the dairy co-ops. 

He said the IFA fully supports the development of a practical, cost effective Johnes programme that is sustainable for the long term and meets the objectives of farmers and co-ops. 

The organisation has actively highlighted the importance of maintaining the existing regional veterinary laboratories. The IFA has continued to highlight the key areas of concern for farmers in the new EU veterinary medicinal products proposals and has been actively involved with the Dept of Agriculture on the issue of antimicrobial resistance, ensuring the Irish national action plan does not impact unnecessarily or disproportionately on farmers.

The outgoing officers of West Cork IFA were returned for the coming year: president, John Joe Kelleher of Terelton; chairman, Corney Buckley of Caheragh; vice-chairman, Donal O’Donovan of Dunmanway; secretary, Micheál Looney of Macroom; treasurer, Jerry O’Sullivan of Leap, and PRO, Gerard Burke of Durrus.                                                                                                                                            All the  outgoing delegates were returned unopposed to their respective committees: Dairying, Derry Scannell of Rossmore; Livestock, Robert Ellis of Drinagh; Sheep, Denis O’Leary of Ballingeary; Forestry, Fergus Minihane of Schull; Grain, David O’Brien of Ardfield; Hill Sheep, Teddy Creedon of Ballyvourney; Poultry, Denis O’Hea of Clonakilty; Rural Development, Donal O’Donovan of Dunmanway; Farm Family, Martina Casey of Macroom; Farm Business, Tadhg Healy of Clonakilty; Animal Health, Gerard Lehane of Timoleague; Environment, Chris Hayes of Rosscarbery, and Special Areas of Conservation, Finn O’Mahony of Kilcrohane.

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