£1.5 million cattle tracing scheme for Cornish farmers

Cornwall EID has been awarded nearly half a million pounds by the Objective One programme to increase electronic identification (EID) of cattle on 300 farms and two livestock markets across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The £1.5 million project, which is believed to be the first of its kind in England being part-funded by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will improve the traceability of cattle, viewed by many in the industry as essential to improving consumer confidence in the meat industry, particularly in the wake of BSE and last year’s foot and mouth crisis.

The project will assist beef and dairy producers to reduce the costs of production by improving management information and the quality and marketability of livestock by providing the means to trace each animal accurately and swiftly.

The project will be completed over a three-year period and has been set up with the full support of the local farming industry. Cornwall EID, a new company limited by guarantee, is taking the project forward, with Duchy College managing its ongoing management and operation.

Farmers from previous pilot schemes and new participants will be able to obtain equipment and training including subsidised tags, readers, applicators, software, computers, and training.

Mary Browne, Cornwall EID project manager, said: “Cornish agriculture is highly dependent on the profitability of beef and dairy farmers, with a 69% fall in the industry’s net income over recent years, capital is not readily available for investment.

“Thanks to Objective One and DEFRA, we have the funding to invest in electronic identification, which will alleviate the increasing burden of administrative, financial and labour costs across the industry and allow farmers to spend less time on paperwork and far more time on improving the farming aspect of their business.”

Easier stock management, through the maintenance of records by hands free data capture, without the need to handle cattle, is expected to improve animal welfare and performance.

David Rodda, senior agricultural co-ordinator for the Objective One Agricultural Development Team, said: “The increased implementation of EID on farms in Cornwall will lead to increased efficiency and hopefully provide a unique selling point for Cornish meat and dairy products.

“We hope this project will help to restore consumer confidence in the British meat industry and combat the adverse economic effects of the foot and mouth crisis. Hopefully EID is the catalyst for a widespread beneficial impact throughout Cornish agriculture.”

Farmers wishing to know more about the EID scheme should contact the project manager, Mary Browne on 01579 372116, email m.browne@cornwall.ac.uk.


Editors notes:

The £1.5 million project is being funded with £476,699 from the Objective One European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, with the same amount coming from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The balance of the costs, approximately one third, will come from participating farmers.

If you would like to interview a Cornish farmer who is taking part in the project then David Lawry of Rescorla near St Austell (Tel: 01726 851253) is happy to oblige.

For more information please contact:
Mary Browne
EID Project Manager
01579 372116

Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388