The benefits of using electronic identification (EID) in cattle were highlighted during a demonstration at the recent AgriScot, one of the premier events in UK agriculture.
The demonstration focussed on the use of EID to monitor and track liveweight gain of finishing cattle on various rations, select breeding stock and the detection of health issues.
Hosting the demonstration was Borders farmer, and previous winner of the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award, Robert Neill, along with beef expert Basil Lowman from SAC Consulting (a division of Scotland’s Rural College).
Live cattle featured in the demonstration to ensure that it was as close to a real on-farm scenario as possible. Students from SRUC Oatridge were also on hand to highlight some of the ways EID will impact on the future of the beef sector.
Mr Neil, who joined the AgriScot board this year and has completed a Nuffield Scholarship on cattle EID, said: “For the beef industry to survive in an ever-changing world, farmers need to be using information, which can be collected using EID, to make more informed decisions about their business.”
Dr Lowman added: “We tend to think of EID as just a means of identifying an individual animal but it has the potential to be much more useful. It can reduce labour and, importantly, allow adjustments to the management of each individual animal to maximise their performance and produce a more profitable product.”
“Hopefully, Robert and I were able show how technology, most of which is readily available, can achieve these objectives and make a real difference to the bottom line profitability of Scotland’s beef herds.”