High compliance rate on sheep tagging
Only a handful of farmers inspected in 2011 breached the read rates for sheep electronic ID (EID) tags – and very few received any form of penalty.
Of the 650 flocks inspected, just 64 received any form of cross compliance penalty – 0.3 per cent of Scottish sheep producers.
Only five breached the required EID read rates - all of which had also breached other elements of the sheep tagging and recording requirements – while none were penalised solely for failing to comply with read rates.
The figures were revealed at a recent meeting between Scottish Government officials and key industry representatives.
Steps which farmers can take to help them avoid penalties were also discussed at the meeting. These included:
* Not double tagging unnecessarily i.e. on lambs destined for slaughter
* Ensuring they achieve read rates as close as possible to the Critical Control Point average of 95 per cent
* When buying sheep, check read rates on ScotEID as soon as possible afterwards to ensure they reach the standard required
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“I know that the bureaucracy surrounding sheep EID is an issue that the industry is very concerned about and we’ve worked hard to minimise the impact of the rules and help farmers avoid penalties.
“We gained valuable concessions from Brussels to allow an element of flexibility in the Scottish system and were confident that farmers would not face a torrent of penalties. With just 0.3 per cent of Scottish sheep farmers receiving a penalty in 2011, I’m pleased that compliance with the EID rules has been so high.
“Going forward it is important that all those concerned with sheep EID continue to strive for a high standard. They can then once again avoid penalties while still achieving high standards of traceability.”
Development Officer for the NSA in Scotland, George Milne said:
"Farmers on the whole have made a good effort and in many situations where problems arose it was a result of minor mistakes which led to frustration across the industry. We have worked closely with the Scottish government to take a understanding and sympathetic approach to inspections on farm and hope that this will continue across the country this year."
NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said:
“Sheep EID was never going to be easy but in Scotland a lot of effort has been invested in making it workable. The inspection review shows that some flocks are handling the system well but highlights for us all the compliance traps that are likely to cause problems on farm. The main trip wires at inspection are, as they have been for several years; getting tagging and retagging right and the record keeping. At times record keeping seems to overwhelm but the Scottish Government’s yellow flock register provides all the information required at inspection. The challenge is to ensure that even the record of tagging and retagging is kept up to date.”
Further information about sheep EID is available here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/IDtraceability/SheepandGoats