Monday, 31 October 2011


NFU Scotland is reminding all sheep producers of some simple steps that they can take to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations around sheep movements and identification, including electronic ear tags.

Scottish Government issued guidance to all registered sheep keepers a few weeks ago and since then, NFUS has met with the Scottish Government’s compliance and policy teams to look at standards, particularly with regards to electronic tagging.

These meetings have been mapping out more workable approaches to compliance and laying the foundation of a more risk based approach. NFUS and the Scottish Government are intending to hold public meetings on sheep ID starting next month.

NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said:

“The Scottish system based around the use of critical control points (CCPs) such as markets and abattoirs and a central ScotEID database is still evolving. Clearly the system has thrown up problems but all sides are looking to ensure workable standards at farm level.

“From a compliance perspective, most member concerns still revolve around the read rates of stock passing through CCPs. Scottish sheep farmers need to remember that compliance problems are only a risk when sheep which have been double tagged with their individual EID go ON to a new farm.

“It is clear that electronic tagging requirements are still causing confusion. I would suggest that wherever possible, those selling lambs should use the single slaughter derogation flock tag rather than double tagging lambs with their individual electronic ID. The single electronic slaughter tag covers slaughter lambs, store lambs and many ewe lambs. If new owners retain ewe lambs for breeding then they can be upgraded to their individual electronic tag at a year old.

“The use of the single slaughter derogation tag is significant as single tagged lambs can be moved on a batch basis – rather than recording every single ID – and thus eases compliance for both the breeder and the feeder. Buying single tag store lambs through a CCP will lift feeders and finishers out of read rate compliance issues provided the lambs have been marketed through Scottish CCPs.

“If farmers are unsure of their risk status then help is at hand. They can check their flock data on the ScotEID website or phone ScotEID for information. A support service is available to help producers update data if required and can be of value should a flock undergo an official inspection. In many ways, ScotEID is able to provide a safety net if electronic recording fails.

“Sheepkeepers also need to remember that read rates on electronic tags are not the main compliance risk when it comes to an inspection and basic record keeping is crucial. The new flock register and leaflets mailed to producers over the summer provide a reminder of the key points when it comes to properly recording movements, deaths, running totals, individual sheep ids, transport certificates, tagging and retagging.”