14/11/2013: ScotEID Phase 4 plan

The ScotEID Phase 4 development plan outlines the current work of the ScotEID research and development team. The overall objective is to utilise applied research and development to explore the feasibility of a Scottish multi-species livestock relational database system capable of interfacing with other data systems to meet regulatory requirements for the UK Member States well as taking on board additional industry requirements.

Current work includes new software to allow farmers to record farm to farm sheep movements electronically, completion of the BVD database including systems to provide faster data transfer from CTS and laboratories, research into practical systems for cattle EID, and data sharing arrangements to provide information for fast accurate tracing in the event of a disease outbreak.

ScotEID Phase 4 plan

07/11/2013: BVD eradication phase 3

In January 2014 we will enter phase 3 of the BVD eradication scheme. This will require, along with a continuation of mandatory annual screening:

  • A ban on knowingly selling/moving cattle infected with BVDV;
  • Requiring the herd's BVD status to be declared before sale; and,
  • Restrictions on untested herds/animals

Further information on these control measures from the Scot Gov website

Anyone with any concerns should not hesitate to contact the BVD helpline / 0300 244 9823 (open from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday).

19/07/13: BVD Update
Over 90 per cent of farmers have tested for BVD in the first year of mandatory testing, which is an excellent result and tremendous progress in the on-going fight against BVD.
Reminder letters have been sent by Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) to farmers who have yet to test:

  • For those who have tested, please do not to worry, contact AHVLA (01292 291350) to inform that you have complied with the order and contact your testing laboratory to ensure your details have been recorded correctly on the BVD database.
  • For those who have not tested, again do not worry, please get in touch with your vet to make the necessary arrangements as soon as you can. If you do not require testing (e.g. a non-breeding herd) then please contact AHVLA (01292 291350) so your details may be updated accordingly.

For advice/guidance contact the BVD helpline / 0300 244 9823. The lines are open from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

18/06/13: BVD status lookup
The BVD status for an individual animal or holding can now be looked up on the ScotEID website. Users who have not registered with the ScotEID website will only be able to view the status of holdings/animals whilst registered users will be able to view more detailed BVD results for their registered holdings.
Further BVD information
BVD status lookup

19/04/2013: ScotEID UHF Livestock Technical Conference, Dingwall Mart, Scotland

ScotEID held an international conference on the practical use of UHF for cattle tag identification at Auchmore farm, Muir of Ord and at Dingwall market. The conference attracted speakers and visitors from around the world. A report on the conference and speakers is available on the link below. Papers presented at the conference will be e-mailed on request to

Download the report

19/07/2012: Bovine UHF EID demonstration at Dingwall Mart (11th July 2012)
Demonstration to the cattle industry working group of cattle tagged with combination LF/UHF tags being read at Dingwall auction mart

14/4/2012: Initial UHF testing – work in progress update

ScotEID is undertaking initial testing of UHF equipment, and continues to develop its software systems and engage with industry and government stakeholders to ensure practical relevance of its work. The importance of transponder design and matching it to an appropriate tag design has been identified as a key technical challenge. The next stage will entail field-testing of tags and readers under commercial conditions.
Read the UHF Update

22/3/2012: Tag read rates - 2011

ScotEID have recently received the statistical analysis of EID sheep tags read during the calendar year 2011. The statistical analysis was carried out by Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland.

A total of 3,370,762 sheep were read within 228,677 batches at both markets and abattoirs acting as Critical Control Points.

The data for each individual tag type concerns batches where only these tag types were present, amounting to 2,558,330 reads. So the read rates of individual tag types are mostly of sheep during their first move through a CCP that have been recently tagged.

The average batch read rate is 94.9%. It was 95.1% in 2010. The average batch read rate is the one most important to farmers, particularly for double tagged sheep.

The read rate over all sheep is 93.5%. In 2010 the overall read rate was 93.8%. The average batch read rate is slightly higher than the overall read rate because the majority of small batches have a higher statistical read rate than the minority of large batches.

815,466 sheep with mixed tag types were read and the overall read rate of these sheep was 92.18%. Most of these sheep will have been tagged for a longer time.

This is the first year that ScotEID has been able to study the read rates of older tags i.e. those which have remained in sheep for more than one year. The indications are that read rates decrease with time by about 3% over 600 days. This would explain the lower read rate of batches with mixed tag types, and also the slightly lower overall figures from the reads of sheep that have been tagged in 2010, usually read as gimmers in 2011.

More information is available on individual tag types – read the report summary.

09/03/2012: EID Bolus study

EU regulations on the individual identification of sheep permit the use of an electronic rumen bolus plus a (black) conventional ear tag as an alternative to the pairing of an electronic and a conventional ear tag.
This note reports the findings of a short desk-study of research and market preferences relating to electronic rumen boluses in sheep, in the context of possible pressure from the European Commission to increase bolus usage in Scotland.
The study comprised a literature review, e-mail contact with a number of international researchers and government traceability bodies, plus telephone conversations with several UK abattoirs and some farmers currently using boluses in Scotland.
Read the report

08/02/2012: Small scale research on cattle EID

We are currently conducting research to understand potential future strategies towards the likely implementation of the amendment of EC regulation 1760/2000 - Establishing a system for the identification and registration of bovine animals.  Presently there are no detailed technical specifications set out in the draft regulations concerning technologies.

Scottish stakeholders are clear that the removal of paper passports, electronic movement recording at markets and abattoirs and a high level of identity security will be essential for a future cattle EID system.

We have carried out and demonstrated preliminary work using EID technologies at Lanark Market, the beef cattle event at Balbuthie and at the Winter Fair. From the information gathered, our stakeholders have asked us to extend a small field trial.  This would, perhaps, service as a lead in to a larger working field trial.

The trial will not be focussed specifically on tags, but to understand how data systems might be designed to work in markets, abattoirs and farms related to the removal of passports.

The ScotEID pilot wishes to procure cattle tags with official numbering that, ideally, have both an LF transponder and a UHF transponder (hybrid tags).  We have already evaluated UHF inlays and can provide information regarding these to manufacturers if required.

Any tag manufacturer  interested in producing UHF tags, or UHF/LF hybrid tags for ScotEID please get in touch with ScotEID  in the first instance by e-mailing

13/01/2012: The historic flock
The derogation to record sheep with historic tags that were born or identified before 31 December 2009 on a batch basis has been extended until the end of 2014.
This means that keepers can continue to record animals from the historic flock on a batch basis, rather than recording the individual identity of each animal in the movement document.
However, an increasing number of these older sheep have EID double tags. Where animals from the historic flock have lost their tags and the keeper identifies them with EID double tags then the individual identity of these animals must be recorded in the movement document.
When a keeper moves these animals through a critical control point (CCP) the CCP will read and record the individual identity of these animals on behalf of the keeper.
For moves out with a CCP the keeper must record each individual identity of older sheep fitted with EID double tags in the movement document.
There is no requirement to record the individual identity of EID double tags in the holding register for animals from the 'historic flock', although ScotEID does this automatically when the CCP records the movement.
The keeper should record the ID of all replacement tags in the holding register within 48 hours of the replacement being applied, including tags fitted to the historic flock.
If you have any questions regarding this, please telephone the Huntly Office: 01466 794323.

11/11/2011: Sheep Inspection Advice
Any farmer unduly concerned about an inspection should contact the ScotEID help team (01466 794323) for reassurance and practical advice.

10/11/2011: Pig Keepers can now register with
In accordance with the pig Identification & Registration guidance packs, which keepers should now be receiving, pig keepers can now register with the ScotEID national movement database.
Users can register online by clicking here. Existing users can register as pig keepers by adding the details of their pig holding to their current registration details. The ScotEID help office can provide further help by email ( phone (01466 794323).

Further Pig keeper guidance

20/10/2011: ScotEID Simplified Compliance Guidance
We have produced simplified guidance concerning regulations on tagging and the holding register which can be downloaded here. The full government guidance can be found in the previous news article. Please contact the ScotEID office on 01466 794323 if you require further information or an indication of what amounts to a poor read rate
Download simplified guidance note

10/10/2011: Sheep EID and Cross Compliance - Guidance on tagging and records
All keepers should now have received government guidance on the cross compliance requirements.
Letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment
Quick guide to sheep identification
EID cross compliance Q&A
ScotEID website quick guide

04/10/2011: Very early proof of concept UHF cattle portal reader
Following on from the earlier announcement regarding field testing of UHF equipment for cattle here is a video/demo of a very early proof of concept using off-the-shelf equipment.

19/09/2011: The potential of UHF systems for cattle identification
The ScotEID pilot works to identify workable and affordable electronic tagging systems to comply with European regulations on livestock traceability. The focus during Phases I & II was on Low Frequency (LF) applications for sheep which is a requirement of the regulations. Given the positive Ultra High Frequency (UHF) findings reported elsewhere, such as in the USA, and that there is regulatory flexibility over technological choices for cattle traceability, ScotEID is carrying out work to look at the practicalities of using UHF systems for cattle. Given the effort needed to integrate different hardware, software and management systems for LF it is likely that large scale testing of UHF equipment will reveal a host of unknown issues regarding both technical design and operational implementation of UHF under different conditions and in different parts of the supply-chain. This note explains the rationale for inclusion of UHF equipment alongside LF equipment in field testing of electronic tagging of cattle in Scotland.
A note on UHF tagging and ScotEID

10/08/2011: News Release "Scottish Government has been successful in negotiations with the EU"
The European Commission has commented positively on the development of ScotEID. In practical terms, Critical Control Point reads can be relied on to provide details of individual IDs in the farm record, purchasers don’t need to be concerned if there is an odd missing read, this is especially important for breeding sheep (double identified)

31/05/2011: York EMC analysis of malfunctioning tags
Over two days in December ScotEID, with the assistance of Scotbeef, conducted a study of EID tags which failed to read using the fixed reader at the abattoir. 37 EID tags were removed and sent to York EMC for analysis. Of these:

  • 12 were reported to have no electronics present (either lost or never present);
  • 19 were reported to have been missed by the abattoir reader but could be read with a hand held reader
  • 6 were reported to have electronics present but could not be read

Of the working tags it was also found that there was a significant variation in the level of transmitted signal at 132.4kHz.
Read the report

27/05/2011: ScotEID pilot phase 2 report now available
The Report on Phase II produced by SAOS is now available to read online.
This is the second report from the on-going Pilot study of electronic identification (EID) for sheep in Scotland. The pilot was commissioned by the Scottish Government Rural Directorate (Livestock Traceability Policy) to identify workable and affordable EID systems to comply with European regulations intended to improve livestock traceability specifically the EID regulation EC 21/2004 and its accompanying implementing regs EC 1505/2006, plus subsequent amendments to these. The emphasis by the pilot on working with industry has generated valuable insights into how best to work with regulatory requirements, existing practices and available technologies under commercial conditions.

26/05/2011: Press speculation on the requirement for 100% accuracy in sheep ID recording
We are aware that current press speculation has caused much consternation for many Scottish sheep farmers. In order to clarify this point the Scottish Government's current position is as follows:

  • This was the first formal meeting so it is still early in the process. We continue to engage constructively with the Commission to ensure that the rules are suitable to Scottish circumstances.
  • Scotland has the benefit of an outstanding database, ScotEID, which provides for excellent real-time traceability and identification. The Scot EID database has been designed to allow full compliance with EC regulation 21/2004. The system is unique and sets a high standard among other member states in this respect.
  • The Commission have visited Scotland several times and have always given positive feedback regarding our systems for traceability and identification.

Our view:
The alleged DG Agri requirement for 100% reading would be very difficult, if not impossible, for Scottish farmers and others in the sheep supply chain to deal with. However, ScotEID is confident that its data transfer systems and fully relational database, which is designed specifically in accordance with EC 21/2004 regulation and its technical guidelines, can provide 100% traceability.
ScotEID have a continuous improvement and monitoring programme working with Critical control Points which is designed to maintain and improve both the speed and accuracy of tracing.
We are of the view that a contrary focus on achieving 100% read rates will wholly compromise the accuracy and speed of traceability by undermining the principles that lie behind 21/2004 and its technical guidelines. The result would be a reversion to paper recording which the Commission knows to be inaccurate and slow.
Working to maintain 100% traceability through the automated reading/recording systems and the relational database, designed and installed by ScotEID, will allow the sheep industry to build confidence, improve the systems (tag quality, tag retention etc) over time and reduce the compliance issues on the industry – which we believe is the desire of the Commission.
Our feedback from the Scottish industry confirms that it fully understands and acknowledges the need for accurate and fast traceability and is willing to be fully engaged with maintaining and improving the systems that achieve this. The same is not true for 100% ID recording.
ScotEID’s confidence that we can achieve 100% traceability moves a significant level of responsibility and burden of compliance from sheep farmers to the ScotEID systems which have a developed framework for this.

07/04/2011: Non reads within batches at Critical Control Points
ScotEID research has confirmed that it is not possible to identify every EID tag within every batch of sheep either by using fast race readers, stick readers or to always correctly identify visually.
ScotEID also demonstrates that accurate traceability is maintained by its central database which directly relates EID with other batch movement information including: number of animals within the batch, date of movement and relevant CPH’s. In other words, each individual ID only augments the total amount of movement information.
There is no requirement for flock register reconciliation on an individual ID basis, simply that the expected number of sheep on a holding at any one time reconciles with total movements off and on farm, lambs born or marked, and deaths.
Given various technical and physical limitations of EID technology, but coupled with a fully relational database, ScotEID is confident that non reads within any batch does not compromise traceability or compromise compliance with regulations.

28/03/2011: Website tweaks
The holding register has been redesigned and movements can now be visually/manually recorded. Recorded movements can now be accessed from the 'Holding register' page in the navigation menu on the left (only available after logging in). Please see the help page if you have trouble with this feature. The help page for visually recording tags will follow shortly.
A few small changes have been made to improve navigation. The more important pages are now accessible by a single click on the navigation bar.

06/01/2011: Updated Terms & Conditions of use
The terms & conditions of use have been updated for the operational system.

03/12/2010: Pilot Progress
The pilot has made great progress during this past year and read almost 2 million tags through 60 critical control points around Scotland. This has provided excellent evidence to help further develop the systems to deal with the new regulations and concentrate on how we can reduce bureaucracy.

09/11/2010: Additional Funding

"Alex Salmond announced a further £1 million funding for the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) to extend the Scottish EID research pilot, during a visit to Balbuthie Farm in Leven.

The Scottish Government, working in partnership with industry, has produced a simplified system to electronically identify all animals – a move which will help reduce bureaucracy and keep trade efficient."

Read the full Scottish Government Press Release

Tag Welfare/Performance/Quality Issues

If you have complaints about your tags or have experienced welfare issues it is very important that you complete and return the complaints/welfare form that you should have received with your tags. If your tag supplier did not include this form please contact them to request a form or download a copy. The data from these forms is important for gathering evidence and identifying problems.

Important Guidance Information for keepers
The Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary's Announcement of 27th January 2010
The Scottish Government Guidance Notes
The ScotEID Research Pilot Team's Summary of Guidance Notes