31st May 2012

Scotsheep: EID - The Key to Better Returns

The Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) Scottish Sheep Strategy is offering all sheep farmers the opportunity to come along to the stand at Scotsheep and sign up for one of their courses on “Using Sheep EID to improve the profitability of your flock”.

Kathy Peebles, QMS Livestock Development Manager explained that the courses will be held over the next few months at various locations throughout Scotland and these will be chosen to reflect demand.

“There are two issues breeders and sheep keepers need to overcome and these are fear of using EID technology to help identify good performers and which EID reader does the job you want it to,”  she said.

“We have seen requests for the Scottish Sheep Strategy Lambing Diaries increase year on year, as more breeders monitor how their flock is performing at lambing time.

“As lambs grow, it becomes harder to try and keep track of the growth rates of individual lambs in relation to the ewe that gave birth to them. Anyone who has tried to keep track by reading individual ear tags and jotting them down on pieces of paper will know it is a bit of a nightmare.”

Ewe and tup lambs being retained for breeding carry the individual number on the plastic tag casing. However, what many breeders may not realise is that by using an electronic reader on the slaughter tags, which only show flock number on the outside, you can still pick up an individual number from the electronic chip encapsulated within the ear tag. 

“The electronic ear tag can be used for more than just compliance purposes,” said Kathy. “I know a number of breeders will be aghast at tagging young lambs, however, by following the *ten Golden Rules of Ear Tagging and watching the type of tag you select for young lambs, the job is easier with the lambs appearing to have fewer ear problems as the ear knits into the tag.”

So which EID Reader should you buy? There are a range of EID readers on the market and with the assistance of Jon Bjerland and Davie Kerr, from the Scoteid project, a leaflet has been produced to give information on what the various EID readers can do, such as:

·         Simply reading the ear tag for compliance purposes i.e. private sale notification.

·         The recording of which medicines are given to a specific batch.

·         More sophisticated recording of individual weights.

For anyone interested in flock performance, there is also information available on the compatibility of readers with the various types of software packages currently on offer. It is important to note that not all packages are compatible with the readers.

So come along to the QMS Scottish Sheep Stragegy stand at Scotsheep and see what’s on offer. Sign up for a more in-depth course (free of charge to levy payers) and pick up the EID leaflet – “Key to Better Returns from the QMS Scottish Sheep Strategy.”

Scotsheep will take place at the Morrisons Farm, Dumfries House, Cumnock on Wednedsay 6 June 2012.

*Available at www.scoteid.com.

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