CHANGES to the rules concerning movements from TB restricted herds has caused confusion in the cattle industry.

Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA), said the new rule – which came into force on January 1 – was not as complicated as some people initially thought.

He said: “The main point to get across is that the rule change only affects TB breakdown herds. All farmers whose herds are TB free, whether the herds are subject to testing annually or every four years, are not affected.

“Farmers with restricted herds looking to sell animals at a TB Restricted Sale, or ‘Orange Market’, have actually seen an increase in the period of movement allowance following a clear test, from 60 to 90 days. This means they have an extra 30 days to sell their animals following a clear TB test, and subject to AHVLA approval.”

Cattle from Orange Market sales can either go directly to an abattoir, to an Approved Finishing Unit (AFU) or return to their farm of origin if not sold.

Mr Dodds said: “The reduction to 30 days, following a clear TB test, only applies to those animals being moved from a TB restricted herd to live on a new farm.

“For example, being sold through Dedicated TB Restricted Breeding Sales. For these animals the 60 day pre-movement test validity has been reduced from 60 days to 30 days.” He urged producers to get in touch with their local market if they want further clarification.

“Changing policy is often a cause for confusion, and there is a lot of it to keep abreast of,” said Mr Dodds, “Staff at livestock markets throughout the country will be only too happy to talk to their customers and offer advice.”