The current plan to have all Scottish cattle tagged with EID tags is to be announced at the Highland Show next week.
The current strategy for the introduction of EID for Scottish cattle means that all newborn calves will require EID tagging by the 1st of January 2020. Discussions continue in regard to the roll out of the system throughout the rest of the UK and how to manage it.
It is estimated that by the 1st of June 2022 that all cattle that are leaving a holding will require EID tags. This implies that all youngstock will already be EID tagged by this point and only adult animals born before the EID tagging legislation will need retagging.
Early voluntary trial
Scottish cattle farmers are driving forward with an early voluntary trial of EID for their cattle, with the intention to initiate the trial before the end of 2018.
The Scottish Bovine EID Stakeholder Group said that the early voluntary EID tagging for Scottish cattle has the support of both politicians and industry stakeholders, and has been progressively moving forward in the last few months. Scotland will be leading the way with cattle EID and creating a system that works for everyone.
Scottish Bovine EID Stakeholder Group
There are nine organisations that make up the Scottish Bovine EID Stakeholder Group – the Scottish Beef Association; NFU Scotland; Quality Meat Scotland; the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association; the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland; The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers; SAOS and the Scottish Crofting Federation. The groups involved represent the main bodies involved in cattle in Scotland.
Their plan for early voluntary trials would prepare Scottish cattle farmers in both EID tagging of animals and the electronic data transfer (EDT) system before it’s rolled out across the UK.
The president of NFU Scotland Andrew McCormick, also the chair of the Stakeholder Group, said:
“We have worked hard to put forward the case that a pilot for cattle EID in Scotland is needed to ensure that any eventual full introduction of EID is best suited to the needs of Scottish farmers, crofters, marts and abattoirs.”
Scottish Cattle EID Legislation
As for the Eid legislation for Scottish Cattle it is currently subject to the passage of legislation in Holyrood, for those that aren’t choosing the voluntary early adoption. ScotEID director Bob Yuill believed the adoption of EID would be the beginning of moving away from paper records for cattle.
Retagging would be brought down to a minimum but warned farmers that there would be financial and administrative costs from running the old and new systems in parallel for longer than necessary.
EID will match the visible number
The EID number will match the visible number, which means that farmers will not be obligated to fork out for an EID reader unless they want to.
EID tagging does offer benefits, such as TB testing will be simplified as cattle will be able to be identified electronically. It will also bring an end to cattle being destroyed at abattoirs rather than enter the food chain due to a passport discrepancy. Improvements should be seen in cattle movement between farms with the same holding number as well.
EU deadline approaches
In 2014 EU member states were told to start the process of preparing EID compatible traceability systems ready for the end of 2019’s compliance deadline.
Scotland has forged ahead with an almost completed software to manage an EID traceability system. Whereas, Defra is yet to start working on their planned Livestock Information Program which is set to replace the current CTS Online.
The proposed database which is to cover all livestock not just cattle, is intended to monitor real-time movement recording. This is intended to make huge cost savings for farmers, abattoirs and marts by eliminating the need for paper records and fewer on-farm inspections.