Kildare South Fine Gael TD Martin Heydon has said that major changes to brucellosis testing confirmed by Minister Simon Coveney yesterday will deliver savings for farmers worth €6 million per annum.

“Changes to the national brucellosis control regime for 2015 are going to mean real savings worth up to €6 million for Irish livestock farmers. Next year we will see an end to routine on-farm brucellosis testing, which has seen 600,000 animals tested over the last few years. During the course of 2015, it is also planned to discontinue the remaining pre-movement testing requirement which apply to older animals.

The milk elisa test will also be discontinued from 1 January 2015.

“Irish farmers have worked hard to ensure we comply with EU requirements for mandatory testing since the achievement of Officially Brucellosis Free status in 2009. The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, has now said that as there has been no brucellosis outbreak in the national herd since 2006 and none in Northern Ireland since 2012, we have reached the point where we can further scale back testing for the disease.

“Of course the Department of Agriculture will continue to monitor for brucellosis and the disease will remain compulsorily notifiable. Farmers should continue to submit aborted foetuses to the regional laboratories of the Department for testing in order to ensure the early detection of any outbreak of this disease. While we must remain watchful for brucellosis, it is very positive that we have reached the stage where we can relax the testing for disease. This will take pressure off farmers, both in terms of their work load and their finances.”