Almost half the farms inspected for cattle identification and movement regulations have breached  cross-compliance rules and could now face single farm payment penalties.

Failure to report movements to the British Cattle Movement Service is the biggest breach under Statutory Management Requirement 7, which is designed to maintain a system for the identification and registration of cattle to help with their traceability, especially during a disease outbreak. It accounted for 28% of the 1663 SMR7 failures recorded in 2009.

Other key breaches included deaths not recorded with BCMS, animals missing from farm records and incorrect movement records. As a result, about 1300 farmers saw their payments docked ?between 1% and 5%, and 94 by more than 5%.
“The standard rule is that when cattle are moved from one holding to another, the movements must be reported to BCMS within three days,” said Hugh Martineau, manager of the Cross Compliance Advice Programme.

This included parcels of land with more than one holding number, even if they were adjoining and farmed as one, he added.
“If your holdings are within 25 miles it may be possible to link them as a single unit for cattle movement reporting and nominate one main holding to which all animals and future births will be registered.”

Movements on and off rented grazing had also to be notified, unless a temporary link had been set up between it and the grazier’s own holding within the cattle tracing system.

Another common area where farmers slipped up was with animal welfare, said Mr Martineau. A total of 268 failures were recorded under associated SMRs in 2009.

The most common reasons for non-compliance were inadequate records for medicines and mortality rates. Records of any medicinal treatment had to be kept for three years, as did records for animal deaths, he said.

The Cross Compliance Advice Programme offers free, independent advice and will be running a series of events to address common cross-compliance breaches. More information cam be found here or call the helpline on 0845 345 1302.