18 September 1998

Top 10 help-desk queries from producers

SINCE its initial opening in April, the British Cattle Movement Service help desk has handled over 26,500 calls from producers, and many more will be dealt with before Sept 28 when BCMS becomes operational.

According to Gay Dobson, BCMS call centre manager, most calls are from producers wanting clarification of guideline notes: "Producers have been very understanding and generally want someone to talk it through with them."

Here are the BCMSs top 10 queries:

lWhy is a pre-printed form needed for each animal?

It allows cards to be read automatically by machines at BCMS and speeds up production of passports. Producers also have to fill in fewer details on forms when they are individually printed.

lWhy arent forms printed in sequential tag order?

It is related to how passports are printed by machines and despatched. Producers may well receive a run of odd or even numbers, but it has been a mammoth task sending out more than 4m passports to over 66,000 locations.

lWhy have I received forms for ear-tags that have already been used?

Four million forms cannot be printed overnight. The system took a while to be up and running in parallel with MAFFs Electronic Tagging Administration System (ETAS). Where producers receive a form for an ear-tag already being used, we ask them to destroy the form.

&#8226 I have bought ear-tags since the end of July but have not received the relevant forms to go with them. Why?

There has been a backlog of forms for issuing, but we are catching up with it. Producers can expect to receive outstanding forms soon. lWhat happens if I make a mistake on the form?

Do not worry. If you have time, contact BCMS and we will send out a new one. Otherwise, simply cross it out and insert the correct information next to it. Please do not use correction fluid, as the automatic machines will reject the forms.

lWhat happens if I have not got enough bar-code identification labels?

You can request more from the BCMS help desk. Please do not stockpile these on-farm as they may get damaged or lost needlessly.

lHow do we record movements?

The passport stays with the animal at all times. If you sell a beast, fill in the off-movement summary, sign it and date it, and then complete the movement card. If it is sold through a market, auctioneers must fill in the movement summary and stick on their bar-code. The buyer completes the on-movement summary and then complete the movement card. All movements can be recorded with BCMS either by post or e-mail.

lIf an animal is not sold at market and returns home, do I still notify BCMS?

Yes, and so will auctioneers in the approved manner.

lDo I need to record movements to and from a showground when showing cattle with the new passports?

From the end of September to December this year, enter show name and date in movement summary sheet, but do not complete a movement card. After December, producers will be notified of any changes to requirements.

lIf BCMS is recording cattle movements, do I still have to keep farm records?

Yes. Farm records must be kept up-to-date at all times.

lBCMS contact phone 0845-050 1234 (England and Scotland) or 0845-050 3456 (Wales).