COLLATING DATA from the UK”s livestock producers offers many benefits to their businesses, believes Richard Webber, who launched the National Livestock Management Database at Smithfield.

His idea for a database came from a trip to Brussels 14 years ago. “I believe that farm data belongs to producers and they should be the beneficiaries,” said Mr Webber, managing director and chairman of Shearwell Data.

The NLMD will take the information from existing farm management software, back up producers” data off the farm and collate it to provide management information – when producers give permission.

This will include animal health information, slaughter data, breed performance evaluation and benchmarking data. It will also act as a procurement tool for buyers. NLMD chairman Bill Madders hopes the database will enhance the whole livestock industry, helping to improve efficiency using information which already exists. “Livestock information is not fully exploited. And, in 2005, we will have to really react to the marketplace.” But the information will still be owned by producers.

He believes NLMD will offer great advantages and ownership of NLMD itself will transfer to the livestock producers who use it. Members can choose from three levels of membership, with the basic bronze level offered free.

Bronze membership offers farm data back-up, weather reports, newsletters, auction catalogues and classified adverts.

Silver level membership, costing 60 a year, gives the added benefits of market and monitoring information and kill sheet data – from the farm and comparative reports.

Gold membership will be tailored to producer”s requirements and priced accordingly. This could include customised reports and a web page for the farm.