09/09/2020: Cattle EID tags - update

Research and development is continuing by ScotEID into the use UHF tags on farm and at markets and abattoirs.   UHF tags have been chosen because they will show the actual tag number (WYSIWYG), can long distance read, are anti-collision and  don’t interfere with existing EID systems.  The very latest UHF development includes battery power with GPS location.  UHF readers, both fixed and handheld, are available commercially being used in many industries throughout the world.

ScotEID UHF tags can be used voluntarily and are available as part of the pilot ongoing, testing their use on farm and through markets and abattoirs.  Currently there is one official UHF secondary tag available, and others will be made available during 2021.  There is, as yet, no planned date to make these tags compulsory, either for new-borns, or as replacement tags.  There are other UHF tags available but currently can only be used as management tags and manufacturers are currently taking these through compulsory testing called PAS44.

UHF tags are a light salmon pink colour making them easy to see, which will be important during the period when there will be mixed batches of cattle.

Low Frequency (LF) tags are only available using a manufacturer coded chip, this code has to be translated by software to show the visible number on the tag.  It is planned that official LF WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) will become available but will require a number change, which is complicated and requires current government systems to be updated.  Unfortunately, the CTS/BCMS system cannot be updated to accommodate a new number sequence compatible with the low frequency EID international standard (ISO 11784).  At this time ScotEID don't believe that LF WYSIWGY tags will become available as official tags until CTS/BCMS closes (when new cattle systems in England and Wales become operational), which could be two years away.

Cattle keepers have two choices currently:

  • To use Low Frequency non-WYSIWYG tags and readers as are currently available.
  • To voluntarily use ScotEID UHF official tags, working with ScotEID as they continue to develop a wider range of UHF tags.

Further information is available by clicking on this link:
An update on bovine EID in Scotland and the choices available to farmers