Scottish EID trial gives lift to sheep producers

Scottish sheep producers are set to benefit from a new EID trial which aims to put the final piece in the jigsaw when it comes to breeding decisions.

The trial in partnership with Morrisons, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and ScotEID (the Scottish government-funded livestock traceability company), will see new prototype technology trialled at the retailer’s abattoir in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

It is hoped the new technology will enable producers to get detailed quality performance data on every sheep via EID tags, which will then aid in breeding decisions at farm level.

QMS chairman Jim McLaren said: “This initiative, which advances the technology to a stage where individual ear tag numbers can be linked to carcass weights and grades, is a major step forward for farmers interested in finding out what their returns are from specific breeds or breeding lines.

“This will help to improve the efficiency of the Scottish sheep industry and producers’ bottom lines by giving them information they have never had easy access to previously.”

Ian Watson, chairman of Farmstock – Scotland’s largest lamb co-operative – added: “This is really exciting news and without doubt has the potential to transform the way we manage our sheep breeding programmes. If the trial is successful, for the first time Scottish sheep farmers will be able to select breeding stock that are consistently delivering high quality lambs at the abattoir.”

Morrisons agriculture manager Louise Welsh said: “We’re confident we can help our farmer suppliers maximise the potential offered by the introduction of EID tagging. Not only can it improve their efficiency, it can also help further improve the quality of the lamb that we sell in our stores.”

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