proof is a top priority…
PRODUCERS using agents and e-mail systems to register cattle movements are urged to get proof that data has been sent or face possible movement restrictions, following BCMSs launch.
At last weeks EDFE, producers were inundated with companies offering software packages which allow movement details to be transferred direct to BCMS from the farm computer, while many agents were offering to send data on producers behalf.
Carol Lloyd, NFU cattle identification specialist, warned producers using agents to seek written confirmation that data had been transferred: "The producer is ultimately responsible for ensuring movements are recorded with BCMS and recorded correctly. Failure to do this may lead to cattle movement restrictions."
Miss Lloyd also urged producers to use credible agents: "Use discretion and preferably pick an agent with a good reputation in the farming community. Always read the small print on the contract and look for hidden costs."
Jim Adamson, BCMS statistics and administration manager, responded to NFU concerns that agents are unregulated. "Producers have 15 days to register movements by post and it will be the same for agents. Where an agent consistently fails to notify movements or loses data, it is likely BCMS may take action."
Almost all e-mail systems record whether data has been sent and received correctly. According to Julian Westaway of FWi, which offers a free e-mail service in conjunction with ADAS and NFU Cattlemail, agents have a responsibility to notify producers whether transfers of movement data are successful or not.
The choice between paper-based and e-mail systems for recording movements is down to convenience, rather than cost. Many software packages use fail-safe formulas for inputting data which should reduce errors associated with a paper-based system, suggested suppliers at the event.
At the EDFE, software packages for farm computers ranged from about £100 without Internet access, to over £260 with Internet access. Hand held scanners which read animal ID barcodes on management eartags or scan passport barcodes add several £100s to software costs, but reduce potential for errors and save time.
• Producer ultimately resonsible.
• Use credible agent.
• Read small print.
• Check for hidden costs.