A computerised cattle recording system which links directly to British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) records via the internet is saving time on a borders beef farm, as well as reducing the potential for making mistakes.

Aberdeen Angus breeder Guy Lee says the ability to transfer information on animal registrations and movements from his Farmplan Cattle Manager program direct to the BCMS Cattle Tracing System (CTS) over the internet has made a real difference to the amount of time he spends in the office.

“I have been using the web-based system for a couple of months now,” he explains.

“It enables me to relay data straight from my own recording program to BCMS at the click of a button.

Repeatedly typing out long numbers allows room for human error, but there is no need to do that using this method.”

It is important to use ear-tags in the correct order, as well as being meticulous about recording correct information in the field, stresses Mr Lee, of Sandy Stones, Jedburgh.

“When I bring up details of a cow and go to the new calf section in Cattle Manager, the program automatically comes up with the next ear-tag number in sequence.”

Movement notification has also been made much simpler.

“Once I sell an animal, its details are entered into Cattle Manager, which prints off a transport certificate.

Next I link the information to CTS, to tell BCMS the animal has left the farm.

“I can also download BCMS information to check its records tally with the herd.

That could be useful when I get a DEFRA inspection.”

The Cattle Manager program keeps track of cattle births and movements, allowing information on registration and movements to be submitted from the home computer to CTS Web Services, without the need for e-mail.

Once the information is received, it is processed and validated by CTS.

Next time the user connects to the website, Cattle Manager will download the latest details.

Trials have shown that validation usually takes place within a few minutes of the information being received.

BCMS is supporting the concept of linking agricultural software to its data systems.

BCMS projects director, Adrian Pryor offers several assurances:

  • Information is secure and confirmation is automatic, with a system for printing off receipts.
  • When a mistake is made, only that individual mistake is queried.
  • Producers can download information on their holdings from CTS, so on-farm records can be checked for accuracy.

fwlivestock@rbi.co.uk