SIR, – Many thanks for reporting on the ScotEID roadshows, including the recent meeting held at Finavon (The Scottish Farmer, February 1).

These events have been well attended and the feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive. Naturally, during a period of change, there are issues that are being raised and we’d like to clarify a couple of matters referenced in the report.

Farmers who are using LF tags for management can continue to do so working alongside UHF official tags. Scotland will introduce LF along with UHF as a 'dual tag' immediately when it becomes possible to do so.

Unfortunately, LF tags cannot hold our current cattle IDs as WYSIWYG, (What You See Is What You Get) similar to sheep and be compliant with the ISO standard 11784, due to possible duplication of IDs.

In Scotland, it is possible to alter the ID sequence slightly, retaining the herd mark and the individual ID, but this will be incompatible with the many existing GB government data systems, most importantly the APHA system that deals with the TB eradication programme.

England and Wales are considering completely re-numbering their cattle, but this will also be incompatible with existing data systems. Indeed, it is possible that introducing official LF EID for traceability purposes will be delayed as currently too difficult and too expensive.

In the meantime, while this issue is being resolved, Scotland is progressing with UHF technology, like many other countries are now doing around the world, most notably the USA. UHF uses a different ISO encoding standard and memory and so records existing cattle IDs as WYSIWG.

We hope this provides useful information to readers and we look forward to meeting more farmers and stakeholders at the remaining roadshows which continue until mid-March.

Bob Yuill

ScotEID director.