The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has confirmed that 3,318 cattle herd numbers were made dormant in 2020, according to Agriland. Of these, 2,731 herd numbers became dormant in 2021, while 257 numbers were changed to this status so far this year.
A dormant herd number is assigned when a farmer no longer has stock for a period of at least a year. The local Regional Veterinary Office (RVO) will initially apply a “no stock status” against the herd if there are no cattle present. The local RVOs continually monitor these herds and will apply the dormant status against the herd if the farmer has no stock for an extended period of time.
For a farmer who wishes to reactivate a dormant herd number, they must contact their local RVO to apply using an ER1 application form. Since 2021, 2,538 new bovine herd numbers were issued by the department, including 250 to date this year. In the past three years, 10,485 cattle herd numbers had a change of herd keeper or owner.
Before a herd number is issued or reactivated, several conditions must be assessed by the RVO. The herd must exclusively occupy a defined holding, have separate entrances to the holding, and entry points onto other adjoining lands, not part of the application, must be permanently blocked. Perimeter fencing should be stock-proof at a minimum and also prevent direct contact between stock on adjoining holdings. There should be independent and separate facilities such as a cattle crush, feeding and watering facilities, and farm machinery. Adequate facilities for inspection, loading, unloading, marshalling, watering, feeding, isolation, treatment of sick or injured animals, and housing must also be present. Adequate facilities for animal bedding and the collection or storage of manure and wastewater are also required.
The department stated that pending the determination of herd health status, there are movement restrictions for newly established/reactivated dormant herds.