By Farmers Weekly staff

DAIRY and beef producers should demand a discount when they use e-mail to send cattle details to the British Cattle Movement Service.

Registering cattle movements by an e-mail system – such as CATTLEmail, the NFU/ADAS system on FWi – will help the BCMS reduce its 4.5 million postage bill.

Passport charges will be 7 an application, which is twice as much as it should be, said National Milk Records chief executive Robin Turner.

He estimated that NMR could run the passport service for half the cost using available electronic technology and its existing field staff.

Inefficiencies exist and it could be run cheaper, but Mr Turner said he was not making a bid for BCMSs business.

“BCMS is set up and running and this will not change, but I think other organisations within the cattle industry should be involved and feel NMR could contribute to making BCMSs service better.

“There doesnt have to be fundamental changes to the service, but BCMS must be encouraged to drive down costs,” he said.

An incentive scheme rewarding producers who sent in data electronically would be a start, said Mr Turner.

“A 1 reduction in charge for e-mailing data would encourage producers to do this cutting BCMSs costs.

“Of the 7 costs, 1.66 is for postage and 1.15 is for inspections.” Paper and labour cost 1.2m and 5.3m respectively, he said.

By increasing e-mail applications a large proportion of the 4.5m BCMS postage bill can be saved.

Computer Software company Orchid Data said producers submitting calf applications using e-mail should be exempt from 7 charge proposed by MAFF.

“E-mailing the information is fast, accurate, has minimal cost and needs no further processing on the MAFF side.

“The fee is impossible to justify for passport applications made in this way,” said Orchid Datas Simon Rees-Jones.