EQUIPMENT RELIABILITY and operational complexity are still causing problems for many of the 31 Welsh farms taking part in an evaluation of electronic identification systems.

An interim report on the first 18 months of the two-year project reveals that 81% of participating farmers continue to encounter problems.

It also showed that the EID systems installed on two farms are still not fully functional.

Breakdowns have been reported with all four of the EID systems being evaluated, though many equipment failures have been linked to operator errors.

Only 46% of farmers consider that their systems are fully operational, but 90% report their systems have been in regular use since April 2004.

Over 90% of farms are using EID to record weights, and most claimed to have benefited as a result.

Some 76% of farmers say they use EID to identify individual animals, and 52% report modest to big benefits from using electronic tags to record livestock movements.

Half the enterprises claim some advantages from using EID for recording veterinary treatments.