Breeders to lose in virus at-risk areas

By James Garner

STOCK breeders face thousands of pounds of lost sales this autumn as many breeding animals remain stuck in “high-risk” or “at-risk” counties, which is restricting trade.

Farming organisations have renewed calls on the government to pay compensation for breeding animals, particularly sheep that are not covered by the welfare scheme.

NFU head of livestock, Kevin Pearce says: “These counties are the stock breeding grounds of the country. There is going to be a beef shortage next year and it wont help that a third of our suckler herd is situated where it cant be moved.”

Gethin Havard, chairman of Brecon and Radnor Suckled Calf Rearers, reckons his 450 members stand to lose 400,000 in suckled calf sales, unless the rules change soon.

“Those who did not use the welfare scheme in its early days are now being penalised and face a fodder and a financial crisis.”

Welfare scheme compensation is too low for breeding stock, so producers have to keep animals as long as they can, he says.

But calls for better compensation have so far met with short shrift from Defra.

Other solutions include further splitting of a countys risk status, and longer distance movements for cattle and pigs within high-risk areas, says Mr Pearce.


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