Farmer Focus Livestock: Sheep EID is a concern for Murray Garrett

Reportedly, in years gone-by, Waytown frequently grew crops of spring cereals.

Sadly our spring barley failed to live up to expectations and produced a miserly 40t of grain and 113 round bales of straw from 22 acres. Hoping for better things with a winter cereal, my arable guru has pulled out all the stops to drill winter oats in a textbook seed-bed just hours before the rains came.

There is much talk locally concerning the imminent arrival of sheep EID. In true EU fashion, this legislation is being forced upon us – although on second thoughts had we been given the opportunity to vote against it, I am quite sure we would only have been asked to vote again annually until we came up with the “correct” answer.

Few of us have any confidence the tags will remain in place for long and most are apprehensive that such losses will result in yet more cross-compliance failures at SFP inspection. Personally, I’m really looking forward to more paperwork in the form of sheets and sheets of updates and amendments to my flock register.

All this begs the question, why should farmers be penalised for an identification system that is not fit for purpose? Let’s see those pushing this legislation forward at least stand behind the products available and offer free replacements for any losses – the Brussels bureacrats that dreamt up this latest wheeze with no obvious advantage to man or beast are not the most popular individuals in this locality.

Indeed I have encountered many shepherds only too willing to tell our lords and masters exactly where to insert those unwanted tags – Trading Standards however, have yet to confirm whether the handheld readers will succeed in obtaining a signal from tags applied in such a fashion.