Defra to delay carcase splitting regulation change

The change from toothing to a calendar date in the carcase splitting decision for TSE has officially been delayed and will not take place this season.

A spokesman for the National Sheep Association (NSA) said while members had anticipated the decision, it was still “naturally disappointing”.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “Following the release of an official letter yesterday (April 29) confirming that the carcase splitting regulation change will not come this season, NSA is disappointed that another season must pass at a cost to the sheep industry that we estimate is in excess of £24 million a year.

There will be some farmers out there who have bought lambs and fed them with the expectation of the move to the June 30 date.

“The only silver lining is that people now know what they are working with for the remainder of this season and any uncertainty is now past.

The NSA is now pushing for a timetable to ensure this change is implemented properly worked on and brought into action ahead of the 2020 season.

Stocker added: “While the change won’t come this season, there is no reason why Defra and FSA should not continue to push forward immediately with the aim of finalising things before the 2019 store lamb sales begin in late summer.

This isn’t a matter of accepting defeat, we were told this was a Brexit ‘no-deal’ related delay and we now have to push forward within the window available.

NSA Cymru regional development officer Helen Roberts said the decision was “very disappointing”.

“The move to a calendar cut off day would hugely help the market and not doing so is a hindrance to finishers,” she said.

The NSA will continue its work to ensure this change is implemented before the next season and will continue to inform members of its work in this area.