7 April 2000

Tags in Cornwall?

CATTLE on Cornish beef and dairy farms could soon be part of an electronic tagging scheme.

Behind the plan which would be funded partly by EU Objective 1 money, is a group of thirteen people, including farmers, auctioneers, and a representative from Cornwall Quality Livestock Producers co-op.

The idea came from farmer David Lawry, chairman of Claytag – a group of 20 farms testing electronic eartags and readers with the help of Objective 5B funding.

He has now used electronic tags in over 80 cattle without losing any and over 5000 cattle have been tagged in the Claytag group with a loss rate of only 0.5%.

Mr Lawry says the change to electronic tags, using hand-held readers to record and transfer information was like going from horses to tractors.

"Its absolutely accurate, and a lot less stress on man and beast at say the TB test or weigh-days, or at suitably equipped markets and abattoirs," he says. Three main open days are to be held on the subject in Cornwall this summer. All the main European eartag manufacturers have been invited to tender for supply of electronic eartags, readers and software. Tenders have also been sought for project management services.