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Livestock Policy Manager's Blog - 23 June 2020

Covid-19 may have delayed the transition to new arrangements for recording births and movements of cattle, and ultimately the introduction of bovine electronic ID but progress continues to be made reports Livestock Policy Manager John Armour.

Last month the Scottish Government discussed and agreed with industry stakeholders to delay the planned transition from BCMS CTS Online to ScotEID for the registration of cattle births, and the recording of all business to business cattle movements in Scotland.  

This was due mainly to Covid-19 and will provide more time for farm software providers to update their systems to work with the ScotEID database to ensure day-one compatibility.  This delay is positive because farm software providers, like a lot of office-based workers, were impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown meaning that remote working presented challenges in preparing for the transition.


The initial agreed timeline was for the transition to take place next month; however, this has now been delayed, at least to late November, with the Scottish Government keen to avoid the transition taking place at a time when calf registrations are high.

The transition to ScotEID will facilitate the introduction of physical electronic tags for cattle.

The Scottish Government currently working with industry on proposals for regulated bovine EID in Scotland, with a consultation in the works.  Through the Scottish Bovine EID Stakeholder Group, chaired by NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick, there have been productive discussions on the future of EID in Scotland. We continue to monitor the outcomes of the industry-led pilot which is being run by ScotEID.

Last month, the NFU Scotland Livestock Committee agreed it was keen to understand any outcomes from the EID pilot, with particular interest in the outcomes regarding read distance and the potential to simplify cattle movements.

The anticipated consultation by the Scottish Government on the plan will give NFU Scotland members the opportunity to directly influence the outcome of bovine EID in Scotland and the Union will ensure that members are alerted when the consultation goes live.

Regulated bovine EID offers significant opportunities for the Scottish cattle industry to enhance its traceability credentials and lead to a possible reduction of related bureaucracy like paper passports.  The ScotEID database also offers significant opportunities to improve management and enhance disease eradication efforts and to protect public health.

We await a decision by DEFRA concerning their implementation of cattle EID so that the numbering system, which will have to change to suit Low Frequency technology, is fully compatible throughout the UK.

  • The Bovine EID industry working group is made up of: NFU  Scotland, Scottish Beef Association, Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Scottish Crofters Federation, Scottish Dairy Cattle Association, Quality Meat Scotland, Food Standards Scotland, ScotEID and Scottish Government.

Author: John Armour

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About The Author

John Armour

John is responsible for NFU Scotland’s livestock Policy. Serving the needs of the NFU Scotland Livestock Committee he works to ensure that the objectives of the Union are delivered in order to support beef and sheep farmers in Scotland. After growing up on a dairy farm John studied International Politics at University and went on to join the NFU Scotland Policy Team in 2014. He has previously worked on both food and milk policy within the Union.

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