Over 84,000 electronic cattle tags sold to date in 2018

Over 84,000 EID (electronic identification) cattle tags have been sold to date in 2018, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed.

In 2017, some 265,052 EID tags were sold. This represented a sales increase of 93,532 electronic tags compared to 2016 – or a jump of almost 54%.

The introduction of electronic identification of bovines on a voluntary basis or mandatory basis by July 2019 is outlined in EU regulations, the spokesperson added.

Commenting on the matter, the spokesperson said: “Each member state is required to have facilities in place to provide bovine EID on a voluntary basis by that date.

“The commission has yet to introduce delegated/implementing acts in respect of the specification for electronic devices, electronic transfer of information and the transfer of 1760/2000 [the EID regulation] to Animal Health Law.”

The department already provides for the use of EID tags in the supply of bovine tags.

Continuing, the spokesperson said: “There is scope for bovine EID to provide benefits which could be very significant from an efficiency, effectiveness and health and safety perspectives to all stakeholders – including farmers, livestock marts, slaughter plants, dealers and export assembly centres.

EID can bring benefits on farms with a strong focus on harnessing the benefits of electronics in dairying systems, automatic calf feeding systems and accurate record keeping for a range of activities – including weighing of cattle.

“The scope to eliminate passports would lead to less errors with passports. The scanning of EID tags at marts and slaughter plants would eliminate or reduce errors with tag reading, bring efficiency and resulting in better traceability.

“Any initiative to move to mandatory bovine EID requires consultation with stakeholders, including farming organisations, mart organisations, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and approved tag suppliers,” the spokesperson concluded.