Experts assemble in Skipton to talk new sheep ID rules

Sheep electronic identification rules will be discussed at Skipton.
Sheep electronic identification rules will be discussed at Skipton.
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Farmers perplexed by controversial measures to improve the traceability of sheep and limit the spread of diseases are being urged not to suffer in silence.

A sheep electronic identification (EID) drop-in day will see government and industry experts come together to explain how farmers can take best advantage of the new rules at Skipton Auction Mart on Wednesday, February 18.

Electronic sheep tagging became a reality at the beginning of the year and the event, organised jointly by Craven Cattle Marts and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) in Skipton, is designed to demystify the new legislation.

Demonstrations will also showcase the latest developments in tag reading, tag reading software and integrated handling systems, and how they can both contribute and combine to make recording easier.

Jeremy Eaton, general manager for Craven Cattle Marts (CCM), livestock sales manager Ted Ogden and junior auctioneer Sam Bradley, will be on hand when not on duty on the podium on a busy sales day to answer queries.

Mr Eaton said: “The fact is that, while controversial, the individual electronic identification of sheep is now compulsory. Our experience to date is that, with very few exceptions, most electronic tags read, so if legislation is here for good then we may as well attempt to turn it to advantage.

“We have assembled a very strong team of industry experts and suppliers for the drop-in day and hope as many people as possible from our agricultural communities will find time to attend.

“Our advice to them remains: Don’t suffer in silence. Bring wives and children, as you may well find something collectively which can make the handling of this new electronic sheep tagging data easier. And if we can solve the issues concerning sheep, it should be fairly simple to incorporate cattle EID, which is just around the corner. The big hope here is that we may get some movement on livestock standstills.”

The CCM team will be joined at the event by Skipton NFU group secretary Tim Palmer and West Riding county advisor Chris Dickinson, supported by representatives from NFU national headquarters in Stoneleigh.

Levy payers organisation EBLEX will also have a presence, as well as the Animal Reporting and Movement Service, which administers the electronic movement reporting system, along with the National Sheep Association.

The keynote speaker is Ian Cairns, from the Farm Advisory Service run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The drop-in day runs from 1-7pm. It coincides with Craven Champions Day for livestock, the mart’s prestigious annual show and sale of store cattle with show potential.