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Farmers and crofters are being consulted about a revolutionary electronic identification (EID) system to track and monitor Scotland’s cattle herd during a nationwide roadshow that will visit 34 locations – from Shetland to the Borders.
The series of meetings will give the farming community the chance to find out more details on the current proposal for Scottish Cattle EID and kicks off in Banff on Monday, October 21 closely followed by events at Nairn, Grantown and Thainstone Agricultural Centre.
The system, which looks set to become mandatory in 2021, will use state-of-the-art technology contained in a chip within the animal ear tag. It will allow for scanning cattle in ‘batches’, meaning less handling, particularly useful for large herd owners and to smooth processes at marts and abattoirs. It will also spell the end of paper cattle passports.
ScotEID’s Anna Robertson will meet with farmers and crofters all over Scotland, from Lerwick to Lockerbie, clocking up thousands of miles along the way as part of the major awareness raising exercise.
Anna comes from a farming family at Rothiemay, near Huntly, in Aberdeenshire, and has her own small herd of Charolais cattle so will be among those moving to the new system in the future.
Anna said: “We are covering the whole of Scotland with our roadshows, which is quite an undertaking, but it’s very important that we’re able to support the industry and explain what’s ahead at a time of change.
“We want farmers to be aware of what’s happening and know the guidelines to what’s ahead in the next 18 months and to support them in that journey.
“This is very much an information sharing meeting, a conversation and a chance to ask questions.
“As a farmer’s daughter, this impacts on my family and we will be doing this at home, so I am very much in the same position as the people I will be meeting with over the coming months.”
The first wave of consultation meetings run from October-December, with additional events taking place from January-March next year. Anyone who would like to attend any of the first phase of meetings is asked to contact the ScotEID information centre on 01466 794323 to reserve their place to allow for catering and seating arrangements.
ScotEID manages the database for recording animal movements in Scotland and has designed and developed the new recording system.
It will incorporate births, deaths and movements of cattle, replacing the British Cattle Movement Service’s (BCMS) Cattle Tracing System (CTS) for Scottish cattle keepers and provide an online line service and with the introduction of bovine EID and an Online Herd Register.
The new system embeds data experience from research and development and current data management by ScotEID, with the use of UHF technology bringing a number of new benefits.
The ScotEID database will bring together all farm livestock movement records within one central source and will lead to the removal of paper passports. It will be straightforward to use, and it will improve the speed and accuracy of traceability.
Anna continues: “Farmers won’t have to do anything different on the farm. Their practices are not going to change, it is the tag that is changing.
“The difference is that from 2021, there will be an electronic chip within the tag for their calves. There is no need to have any expensive new technology, just to have the correct tags that have the EID chips in place from the manufacturer.”
The Scottish industry set out proposals in June 2017 for a voluntary industry led pilot leading with bovine EID and input from stakeholders in the farming industry is an important part of preparing for the move to cattle EID. To register interest please contact the ScotEID Information Centre on 01466 794323 or email help@ScotEID.com
The Scottish industry proposals for the roll out of EID will be subject to industry consultation and Scottish Government Regulation, but when agreed, will bring about the biggest transformation in the system in almost 30 years.
Following industry consultation, the Scottish timeline will see all new-born calves EID tagged as the first step, with discussions continuing about how to roll the system out to the rest of the national herd.
It is likely that all cattle leaving a holding will require EID tags within two years of the first calves being tagged. That being the case, only adults will require retagging at that point.
The BCMS CTS service has supported cattle recording in Scotland, England and Wales since going live on 28 September 1998 in order to meet EU legislation, since which time the cattle industry has experienced unprecedented changes. Over the same period there have been significant advances in technology and the development of the internet to support innovative processes of tracing whole-life movement in real time.
The first meetings are as follows:
21 October – Banff Springs Hotel, 7pm
24 October – Nairn Community Centre, 7pm
1 November – Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown, 12 noon
5 November – Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, midday and 7pm.
See attached for dates this year...more to follow