A series of free workshops highlighting how cattle farmers can benefit from the use of Electronic Identification (EID) in their herds, will be hosted by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) next month.
Borders farmer Robert Neill will be speaking at the free workshops to encourage farmers to make the most of the opportunities presented by EID to unlock data which could improve their businesses’ margins.
Mr Neill, who farms at Upper Nisbet, near Jedburgh uses EID extensively in his herd of 350 breeding cows and their progeny. He is well qualified on the subject, having completed a Nuffield Scholarship on cattle EID after studying systems in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.
“There is definitely a need for cattle EID which speeds up the process of weighing cattle for market and removes human error. For the beef industry to survive in an ever-changing world, farmers need to be using the information that can be collected to make more informed decisions about their business,” he commented.
Mr Neill believes there are health and safety benefits to the electronic tagging of cattle, too. During the past decade in the UK there have been 50 fatalities as a result of working directly with cattle.
"The ability to read tags from fixed panel readers and long pole readers will reduce the likelihood of injury, and if the use of EID can reduce the risks involved, this must be an incentive to introduce compulsory electronic tagging," he said.
He added: “The technology may seem daunting, but there are no real barriers for farmers to embrace it. Most have smart phones now, and the opportunity to have herd information available at their fingertips and stored securely in the cloud will appeal to them.”
Robert Gilchrist, Knowledge Transfer Specialist with QMS, said: "While cattle EID is not currently compulsory that time is coming and, rather than just using EID tags to satisfy legislative requirements, businesses have a fantastic opportunity to make use of the technology in a number of different ways."
The QMS Cattle EID workshops will be held in December. The events are as follows:
Wednesday 9 December
Scott Henderson hosts at Carswadda, Lochfoot, Lochhead, Dumfries, DG2 8JE
Monday 14 December
Stephen Allardyce hosts at East Town Farm, Tarland, Aboyne, AB34 4TD
Both events begin at 11am and lunch will be provided. For further information about these events and to register your place, visit www.qmscotland.co.uk/events