NFUS call for flexibility in implementation of new recording rules to replace linked holdings.
Scottish farmers will soon be introduced to a new way to record cattle movement.
The Cattle Tracking System (CTS) Links will cease to operate at the end of the year and is set to be replaced by ScotMoves, a new online system implemented by the Scottish Government.
Keepers can currently use CTS Links to register holdings they regularly use so cattle movements between these linked holdings do not need to be electronically reported, although they do have to be noted in the farm’s herd register.
Scotmoves does not require any further information than what farmers record at present but will use new rules to record all movements through an online holding register.
Cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity Fergus Ewing said there will be no financial penalties for first time breaches of the system in 2017.
Commenting on the changes, NFUS vice president Andrew McCornick said: “Many cattle keepers around Scotland will now be concerned about the replacement system, its reliance on figures being accurately recorded on a central database and what that means for potential penalties and cross-compliance."
He said the union had written to Mr Ewing asking for ‘greater flexibility’ and ’proportionality’ in a time period in which farmers are required to record cattle movements on the central database.
"Given that, in some cases, movement information for individual animals may have to be manually inputted into the system, the risk of error increases and the penalty matrix must reflect that," Mr McCornick said.
“Proposals need to take better account of weekends and delays in updates to the Scottish system from the national CTS. Practical timings for recording movements is needed to ensure farmers doing their best to comply don’t get landed with penalties.
“Consideration is needed to ensure large cattle trading businesses are not disproportionately affected."
NFUS expects all cattle keepers to be formally notified of the changes by the Scottish Government.