7 June 1996

£25 is top for bull calves

SOME cattle producers may miss out on compensatory payments for cattle over 30 months old, if animals are only identified with hand-written tags.

That is the warning from MLC operations group manager, Tony Blackburn.

"When an animal is presented for the scheme it must be identified clearly by an individual tag number that links it to documentation as evidence of its age and period of domicile."

But if tags are lost some producers use blank tags as replacements and mark the identification number with a black felt pen.

"Even if the individual animals documentation carries the same number as the hand-written tag, the practice raises sufficient doubt over the validity of the ear-tag number for Meat Hygiene Service and State Veterinary Service officials to be unable to authorise compensation payment to be made," says Mr Blackburn

"It is vital, therefore, that producers who identify cattle solely with hand-written tags arrange for the retagging, with official tags, while the animals remain on farm."

When these animals have cattle identification documents, producers must contact the divisional veterinary manager at their local animal health office for authorisation of the replacement tags.