Electronic identification for the UK sheep industry is here to stay. There are signs that farmers are starting to investigate how they can use this technology to their advantage, but they need help to make the right decisions for their individual businesses. There will be inevitable hurdles that need to be overcome before the benefits can come through; for example, not all sheep farmers are comfortable with technology and lack familiarity with computers.
In Orchid’s opinion, the EID sheep tagging regulations – the challenges for sheep farmers are:
- Understanding the regulations and how they will affect their specific farm situations. From conversations we’ve had with sheep farmers at shows and livestock markets, we’ve found there is still a lot of confusion about the finer details of movement reporting – especially with inter-farm movements where the holding number may or may not be different.
- Choosing reliable electronic tags. This are really issues of practicality like reliable reading of tags on farm or at market, ease of application and handling and tag longevity (if lambs tagged at birth)
- Evaluating whether they should invest in electronic tag reading equipment. There may be reasons to buy a tag reader for cross-compliance purposes, as well as evaluating whether EID recording can provide management benefits
- Getting to grips with technology and software in readiness for the move to electronic recording and reporting. Even though farmers in England can still send paper movement documents to ARAMS, things will inevitably move towards paperless reporting in the future. Unlike dairy and beef farmers, sheep farmers historically not been big users of computers and software to help management their livestock. It would be logical to jump onto the learning curve sooner rather than later.
The good news is that sheep management technology is becoming cheaper, more reliable and easier to use. So although the requirement to track sheep movements individually may seem like a big hassle, it’s perfectly possible for sheep farmers large or small to put a system in place that makes keeping compliant easier and also offers a way to record useful management information for their sheep flocks.
To find out more about the FarmWizard Sheep Software please call our knowledgeable team on 01536 443300.
Tel: 01536 443300 Email: email@example.com