The move, which was implemented by agriculture minister Michael Creed in May, means all sheep must be identified electronically with an EID tag set.
The move has been strongly refuted by the IFA, which believes the costs involved with EID tagging is piling financial pressures on to sheep farmers.
IFA said the decision was “astonishing”, due to the fodder crisis across Ireland and bad weather during the winter and spring bringing major losses to farmers.
“2018 is proving to be extremely difficult. The bad weather in the spring and the very difficult fodder situation left sheep farmers with major losses, massive bills and no support,” said IFA’s national sheep chairman Sean Dennehy.
“On top of this, the Department imposed the clean lamb policy with major additional costs. The extreme drought conditions, combined with severe factory and store lamb price cuts, have left farmers with no income. Imposing EID at extra costs of €2m on top of this is a bad move”.
Since the decision was made, Creed has admitted that there are cost issues with EID tagging and has met with IFA board members Dennehy and president Joe Healy to discuss financial permutations and traceability issues.
Healy said proposing a one-off subvention of €100 on tags “completely underestimates” the costs involved. He said both the IFA and the Department have calculated that EID will cost an additional €2m per year or up to €14m during the FoodWise programme.
The mandatory EID tagging had originally been set so start on 1 October 2018, but this has now been pushed back to 1 July 2019, a move that was described as a “help” by the IFA.