VICTORIAN saleyard managers have been told they should find a way to stimulate quick reporting of sheep identification registrations and movements electronically.
Arjen Dijkstra from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency said if the managers wanted a good system, they should “try to drive it as much as possible in real-time.”
“You have to make it as simple as possible so people know what each notification is for and when they have to do it.”
Mr Dijkstra is the Netherlands’ director of Identification and Registration Systems and Services at the Department for Animal Registrations, a body with responsibilities similar to Australia’s National Livestock Identification System. He outlined the Netherlands I & R system after the Victorian saleyard managers visited a livestock mart in the Friesland city of Leeuwarden last week.
In the Netherlands, farmers have six months to register newborn lambs, and producers and livestock marts have seven days to notify the country’s central database of stock movements. But Mr Dijkstra said delays in registrations and notifications, and poor quality data, were a problem for authorities, livestock marts and processors. Dutch producers are levied 50 Euro cents per sheep for late movement notifications.
In Victoria, the movement of sheep and goats must be recorded on the NLIS database within 48 hours of the animals’ arrival, or before their next move, whichever is the sooner. Electronic tags numbers are linked to a Victorian Produce Identification Code at purchase, but an electronic or paper National Vendor Declaration must accompany stock moving between farms of different PICs, or to a saleyard, feedlot, depot or processor.
Discipline needed to ensure database integrity
Mr Dijkstra said producers should also appreciate that they can utilise the data they put into the database to improve their flock management.
“The more data you have the easier it will be.
“But you can have the best system in the world, but if you don’t have the discipline to fill it, it is worthless.”
With hindsight, Mr Dijkstra said he might have required a higher level of compliance from the country’s sheep producers earlier in the Netherlands’ I & R system’s implementation program. The Netherlands’ has also had problems with replacement of livestock ID numbers.
Litams director Hans van der Hoek said if processors such as the Australian Lamb Company could not reconcile lamb EID identification and movement notifications in close to real-time its backlog of a single day’s of processing would only increase.
Mr Dijkstra said 82 percent of Netherlands sheep producers notified movements within the required seven day period, with an accuracy of 95.55pc. About 50 million sheep notifications were processed each year, from a population of 1,056,498 as of January this year.
“We can do better with sheep, but when you see what we have done with cattle to get them to that level, and what we didn’t do with sheep, I thin k that maybe sheep farmers are more disciplined than we thought.”
Cattle producers had a 97pc compliance rate within the three-day notification period, with an accuracy of 99.5pc, which he said was due to enforcement.
“When we see it doesn’t match we come after you.
“And you don’t do it then, we do it for you and we say you have to pay us 27 Euros and 48 cents,” he said.
“And we don’t do that yet with sheep and goats.”
Mr Dijkstra said when there has been a sheep arrival notification but no departure notification, I & R Systems and Services has completed the transfer.
“We stopped that recently and we now say the keeper (farmer) has to do it themselves.”
Each Netherlands sheep holding pays a tariff of 19 Euro cents annually regardless of flock size and a fee for each birth and arrival of 16 Euro cents.
Mr Dijkstra said the Netherlands Government did not provide any EID system transition assistance to its livestock producers apart from EU subsidy monies. The keepers were paid four Euros for sheep which had been EID-tagged before June 30 2010, were re-tagged with EID tags, and for EID-tagged lambs born in the six months to January 2011. But so many re-tagged sheep that the payment had to be dropped to about 2.5 Euros, he said.
“That was a good start for the system.”