NFU Cymru seeks Assembly dispensation on penalties for missing ear tags

NFU Cymru is urging the Assembly Government to follow the lead of the Scottish Executive and provide producers with a 28-day window from the date of an inspection to replace missing tags.

Currently Welsh farmers face hefty fines if cattle are found with two missing ear tags. Because cattle identification requirements became part of the cross-compliance rules for receiving the new Single Farm Payment (SFP), tagging problems found at inspection have resulted in a reduction of a farmer’s SFP.

NFU Cymru’s Assembly Adviser, Huw Thomas, said, “The Scottish Executive will now provide a 28-day window from the date of an inspection to allow the producer to rectify any tagging errors uncovered during the course of an inspection. The Executive will then monitor the Ear Tag Allocation System (ETAS) to ensure that ear tags have been ordered by the farmer, and conduct a follow up inspection within 28 days to ensure that the missing tags have been applied to the animals. A failure to rectify such problems within the allotted 28- day period may then result in a penalty being applied.”

Huw Thomas added, “Replacing missing tags is an ongoing issue for all cattle producers. It is quite conceivable that an animal can lose both ear tags in a reasonably short period of time with the losses only identified when the animals are taken in for inspection.

“We would therefore urge the Assembly to take a common sense approach to this issue, and grant a similar dispensation in Wales, which would reflect the realities of ear tag losses on farm.”