Beef Efficiency Scheme sampling kicks off

Scottish farmers are to be informed of their animals selected for tissue tagging under the Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES). 

The three-year £45 million genome project is being used to improve efficiency, sustainability and quality of the Scottish beef herd.

The kits will be sent directly from Neogen, the laboratory that will be processing the tissue samples, and will include all required equipment, instruction leaflets and a short reply form.

“Beef Efficiency Scheme contract holders will be directly contacted this week, informing them that the selection process has now taken place and that they can expect to receive a tagging kit by the end of the year,” said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

“To take into account technical issues experienced in making the initial selection, we have extended the return period for tags to 30 June 2017 for this selection. This flexibility will allow farmers to carry out tagging at a time that suits their businesses and removes the need to carry out additional handling. However, we would ask that farmers return the samples to Neogen as quickly as possible.

“I also want to reiterate, it is not necessary for farmers to hold off from selling their animals. Farmers should continue with their normal practices as we will ensure that the sampling regime accommodates those farmers who have sold their calves and that there will be no penalties for those who have. This may mean, however, that some farmers will have a higher rate of sampling next year.”

Charlie Adam, livestock chairman of National Farmers’ Union Scotland, said: “We welcome the announcement that farmers will be receiving their tissue tags soon. This is the next step in the scheme and we look forward to seeing the improvement in the national herd through better breeding information.

“This is not a fast process and we have a long journey ahead. Nevertheless, this is the first step on the road.”

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