ICMSA Officers.
Pic: Don Moloney

ICMSA say delays in issuing calf ‘bluecards’ are clogging up busiest months.

While welcoming the decision of ICBF in relation to improvements to the genotyping programme, the Deputy President of ICMSA, Eamon Carroll, expressed concern about the ‘turnaround’ time, saying that ICBF needs to recognise that in addition to the time spent in the lab, farmers are also concerned about the postage time involved in getting the sample to the lab and the return of the bluecard.  

Mr. Carroll said that February is probably the busiest month on dairy farms followed by March, and farmers depending on their system of production need to move calves as soon as they are fit for sale. He said that delays in issuing blue cards are simply not acceptable and heaping work and pressure on already ‘flat-out’ farmers.  

“Labour is extremely tight at farm level and the system simply cannot deal with unexpected delays. Farmers entered the Genotyping programme in good faith to deliver further improvements from a sustainability perspective and based on commitments given in terms of delivery of bluecards permitting the sale of animals. Those commitments were entered into by ICBF and they must be delivered upon”, said Mr. Carroll.   

Mr. Carroll continued: “It is important to realise that a few days delay can have a massive impact on a farm. Calves could be fit for sale today and tomorrow an outbreak of scour could occur that could render the calves unsaleable for a fortnight. We need that fast and efficient turnaround to ensure the system works and validates farmer commitment to the scheme. ICMSA believes that the bluecard should issue within five days of registering the calf and waiting for Day 10 in the lab is simply too long and causing ‘knock-on’ problems to the whole process.  If the industry wants to maintain farmer commitment to this scheme, then farmers need to be able to sell their calves as normal and the genotyping programme will simply have to fit into that timeframe”, concluded the ICMSA Deputy President.

Ends        23 February 2024

Eamon Carroll, 087-4198693

Deputy President, ICMSA


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office