23 September 1998
E-mail ‘to take hassle out of cattle tracing’
By FWi staff
FARM consultants ADAS have teamed up with the NFU to take the hassle out of dealing with the Governments new computerised cattle tracing system.
The cattle tracing system, operated by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), opens next Monday (28 September). It requires farmers to record movement information for cattle and send it to BCMS headquarters in Workington each time an animal is moved.
To coincide with the start of the tracing system, ADAS and the NFU have launched a service which allows farmers to send movement records to the BCMS using e-mail rather than through the post.
The service, called CattleMail, is being backed by the Farmers Weekly on-line service FWi. It was unveiled today (Wednesday) at the European Dairy Event in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.
Livestock farmers will have free access to CattleMail until next April. It uses an electronic interface to deliver information to the BCMS and includes a sophisticated system to check for possible data errors. It claims to provide a high level of security and maintains detailed records for the farmer.
Mark Thomas, NFU head of member communications, said that in the longer term CattleMail would be cheaper than posting movement details to the BCMS.
MAFF has agreed that farmers will be able to choose to use post-paid movement cards if they prefer. But it recognises that this will be cumbersome for farmers with a lot of cattle and expects that electronic data transfer will eventually account for the greatest number of movement notifications.
“This should reduce the paperwork burden on businesses which move large numbers of cattle, such as livestock markets and abattoirs,” said junior farm minister Jeff Rooker last year.
Andy Offer, ADAS IT development manager said individual users would be responsible for the accuracy of submitted information. But CattleMail promises to be easier to use than posting data to BCMS, he added.
“All we ask the user to do is key in the information and well do the rest,” said Mr Offer.