The British Cattle Movement Service is taking a tougher line on late passport applications and is ready to tip off cross-compliance inspectors if farmers persistently send in birth details after the 27 day deadline, the National Beef Association has warned.

“There can be no doubt that breeders who do not deliver new passport details in time will be heaping trouble on themselves that would be much better avoided, ” said NBA chief executive Robert Forster.

“Senior BCMS staff have told us they will alert Local Authority inspectors about late passports and have advised that this information will be used to identify farms that are high on the non-compliance risk ladder and make sure they are marked down as priorities for inspection.

“They have also warned that if more passport anomalies are found when the farm is inspected it could lose three per cent of its single farm payment as a result of cross-compliance infraction.”

According to the NBA, some 781 cross-Britain passport applications were refused between the beginning of February and the end of April and although some appeals were successful BCMS has also confirmed that many breeders were regular offenders.

“BCMS is determined to raise the credibility of its data base and is not just prepared to take a tough line against late passport applications but is also ready to prosecute farmers who have falsified birth dates in previous registrations,” said Mr Forster.

“Some of these adjustments may cover only days but others involve several months and if date of birth falsifications become apparent when the dam has her next calf the authorities have said they are ready to prosecute offenders as soon as impossibly short gestation periods emerge.”

“They are angry that the integrity of the BCMS database is being undermined by a surprisingly large number of breeders who either do not understand the birth registration system, or are prepared to break the rules, and are determined to take action against them.”