• NEW deadlines for tagging dairy cattle are now in place. From Jan 1, both dairy and beef farmers now have up to 45 days from the birth of an animal to submit a cattle passport application. Only one tag is required to be put in a dairy calfs ear within 36 hours of birth, with the second tag to follow within 30 days of birth – bringing the dairy sector into line with the time limits applied to beef cattle.
• NEW legislation, introduced at the turn of the year, means that anyone buying sheep dip must hold a certificate of competence. Until Jan 1, the certificate was needed only for those buying organophosphate (OP) dips. But the government announced last spring that the scheme would be extended to cover all dip chemicals.
• IRISH beef exports to Britain fell to 85,000 tonnes last year, a drop of 11% compared with 1997.
But, despite that downturn, beef exports overall increased 10% on the year to 500,000 tonnes, according to figures from the Irish food Board, Bord Bia.
Michael Duffy, Bord Bias chief executive, acknowledged that the countrys share of the UK market had been "significantly reduced" because of strong competition from British beef. A key factor in that had been the promotion of British beef by most of the supermarkets.