Uptake of cattle traceability technology

The voluntary use of cattle EID (Electronic Identification) has been an integral part of dairy herd management and is being used in a small number of beef herds. Since 2010 sheep EID has been mandatory in the EU and it is widely believed cattle EID will also become a legal requirement in the near future.

EPIC scientists from The James Hutton Institute conducted the research described in the report ‘Exploring farmers views on the uptake of cattle traceability technology‘ in order to improve understanding of how EID technology is perceived by farmers and crofters, and identify barriers for uptake. The research findings provide a valuable resource for scientists, industry stakeholders and government when discussing the use of EID technology with farmers and crofters.

Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with farmers and crofters in Scotland to identify the issues and views surrounding the uptake of cattle EID. These qualitative research methodologies are particularly useful when applied to real world subjects involving complex nuanced attitudes and mixed feelings.

I would say money is the initial driver and then when having spent the money and you realise the convenience and the ease and the benefits, you’re glad you did it; but the difficult bit is getting people to make the first step

Aberdeenshire, cattle, age 40-60

The research captured a diverse range of views about the use of EID at the farm / croft level. There were also differences in understanding the role and benefits of EID at the national herd level. Analysis of the farmer and crofter interviews highlights the need in communicating clear objectives when developing information and guidance promoting the uptake of cattle EID to improve efficiencies. Highly relevant to the work of EPIC is a recommendation to reinforce the benefits of EID to enhance traceability for efficient disease control and eradication strategies. Given the diversity in cattle keeper activity tailored messages addressing different aspects of cattle EID would likely be of benefit in achieving increased uptake in Scotland and ease potential future transition to electronic recording of cattle.

View report

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