A series of free workshops highlighting how sheep farmers can benefit from the use of Electronic Identification (EID) in their flocks will be hosted by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) next month.
Sheep farmer, consultant and Nuffield scholar Catherine Nakielny will be speaking at the free workshops and will highlight how EID can be a useful tool in increasing the profitability and performance of sheep businesses.
Dr Nakielny, who farms 800 ewes at her home at Talley, near Llandeilo in Wales, is a technical sheep specialist with knowledge of a variety of sheep production issues. She has been involved in the sheep industry for over 15 years and became an independent consultant five years ago, around the time when sheep EID became compulsory in the UK.
Dr Nakielny believes there is a lot that EID can offer farmers. She commented: “The farming sector can often benefit from looking at other industries for ideas on how to improve profitability. Measuring day-to-day performance is a common theme in many successful enterprises and farming is not any different.”
She added: “With the widespread use of barcode and radio frequency identification technology, shops and factories record stock and inventory. Sheep producers also have access to the same technology and with the use of EID tags can now record large numbers of livestock quickly and efficiently. This can offer a huge amount of information from which business decisions can be made and refined.”
As part of the workshops, Dr Nakielny will talk about taking a practical and business-minded approach to using EID to record information. What, when and why will all be covered along with the associated cost-benefits of the technology.
She commented: “EID tags and readers have been around for many years now and experience gained in their use has shown that it a practical and useful technology for many sheep producers. With capital costs reducing, there are also opportunities to share resources and readers between farms, further reducing costs and providing a network where findings can be discussed.”
Douglas Bell, Head of Industry Development at QMS, said: "Rather than just using EID tags to satisfy legislative requirements, sheep farmers have a fantastic opportunity to make use of the technology in a number of different ways. These workshops will highlight some of these."
The details of the QMS Sheep EID workshops are as follows:
Monday 1 February, hosted by Duncan McEwen, Arnprior Farm, Arnprior, Stirling
Tuesday 2 February, hosted by Euan Ferguson, South Clunes Farm, Kirkhill, Inverness
Wednesday 3 February, hosted by Tom Welsh, Mossfennan Farm, Broughton, near Biggar
All events begin at 11am and lunch will be provided.
For further information about these events and to register your place, click here