Herd/flock number application FAQs

A herd number or flock number is issued to farmers for cattle, sheep or goats by the Regional Veterinary Office (RVO) for the sole purpose of disease control. It is issued only to the individual acting as the keeper of the animals.

The keeper is the person in charge of caring for the animals under various disease eradication and control schemes, as well as adhering to animal identification regulations and record keeping.

The RVO will carry out an assessment before issuing a herd/flock number. This is done to reduce disease and improve animal health and welfare. Farmers who apply must meet the following criteria: they must be at least 18 years of age, have stock-proof land that is either owned, leased, or rented, and have facilities such as a cattle crush or a race for handling sheep, feeding and watering facilities, and appropriate animal housing.
If you meet these requirements and are interested in becoming a herd/flock keeper, an ER1 form will have to be completed, signed and sent to the RVO to express interest. For further information or assistance, contact the office at (074) 91 30772.

Organic farming FAQs

Organic farming is a farming system that aims to produce high-quality food in a way that is better for the environment and wildlife. Organic farmers practice farming in accordance with 'organic standards'. These standards are a set of rules and guidelines that farmers who are converting to and those who are certified as organic must adhere to.

Yes, farmers can maintain low production costs while producing high outputs. Farmers can also avail of premium market prices and payments under the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS).

The Organic Farming Scheme is a 5-year scheme operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The funding for it comes from Ireland's new CAP Strategy Plan and is intended to support farmers who are converting or maintaining their farmland under organic production.
If you would like to find out what payments you might be eligible for under OFS, contact the office at (074) 91 30772.

If you have considered your options and have decided to become an organic farmer, you must first select an organic certification body (OCB) and register as an organic operator. The OCB will provide farmers with an application form and a conversion plan form; additional forms may be required. These forms must be completed and returned to the OCB. Contact the office for more information on the application process or if you need assistance with a conversion plan.

After registering with an OCB, you can apply to the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine to become a member of the OFS. Applications are submitted online.
Farmers must also complete an approved training course in organic farming principles as part of the OFS requirements.

Organic farmers are not permitted to use artificial fertiliser on their land, but they may use organic fertilisers, FYM, and slurry, as well as clover swards and crop rotation to increase soil fertility. If necessary, lime can also be used.

Animal health is a critical component of organic principles. Your veterinarian will prepare an animal health plan as part of the application process; if they recommend treatment for a specific disease, for example, cattle should be vaccinated for red water disease due to the farm's whereabouts, this can be done. In summary, animals can be treated if necessary, but through a more formal arrangement based on veterinary recommendation.

Organic standards may require more space for livestock. Animals must have access to at least 50 per cent of a layback area; fully slatted houses are not permitted. Some farms' housing may need to be modified if they want to become organic; contact the office for more information.

Soil Sampling FAQs

The best time to gather soil samples is from September to March. Always remember to wait two years after lime application to get an accurate pH reading, and at least three months after applying slurry, farmyard manure, or fertilisers containing phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to get a true P & K reading.

Every four-five years.

You will need a soil sampler, which we can provide. The sampled area should be walked in a W pattern, with samples taken from areas that show a true representative of the area being sampled. Unusual areas, such as those near ditches, gateways, feeding or drinking troughs, or areas with a lot of dung or urine patches, should be avoided.