The topic of sheep identification and recording generated lively debate with Terry Gurnhill, livestock identification manager for Defra, describing the new Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS) designed to help farmers.
“The new ARAMS database brings together a number of statutory requirements within one system. It allows farmers to maintain a fully editable electronic holding register and it solves the problem of mixed batch recording.
“Currently it does not have the capacity to allow for for multi-species movements or updating of miscellaneous flock data such as medicine records or abattoir kill figures, but these enhancements could be added over time.”
Mrs Gurnhill suggested farmers may benefit from some relaxation in sheep movement recording in the future. “In 2016, we hope to introduce a system of land association within a 10-mile radius of the main holding. This would mean farmers who regularly use land parcels within this area could register them annually and move animals between them without the need for reporting or recording.
Mrs Gurnhill’s enthusiasm for the new system was met with criticism from Frank Langrish, a sheep producer from Sussex who had attempted to use the new ARAMS system.
“Electronic identification represents a great opportunity to reduce paperwork and offers potential to improve disease traceability.
Unfortunately the ARAMS website is not very user unfriendly and is a very tedious way of recording flock movements.”
Mr Langrish pointed to problems with editing ear tag numbers when they have been inputted incorrectly and also the inability of the system to allow users to view more than two weeks’ worth of movements.
Mr Langrish favours using an independent software programme which he believed was ‘the solution’, adding the information required for an RPA inspection is easily accessible from the web-based products which are available.
Bakewell was the venue for this year’s NSA central region winter fair and the wintry weather did not deter visitors from enjoying the varied programme on offer. Chloe Palmer reports.