A scheme aimed at encouraging sheep farmers in Wales to overcome barriers to electronic recording is proving to be a resounding success.
Preliminary findings from an Electronic Identification (EID) project launched in Wales at the end of last year suggest that around 80 per cent of the farmers involved have found using the readers to record flock information relatively easy.
“Our latest feedback indicates many Welsh farmers are not only getting to grips with the technology but are enthusiastically looking at a wider range of functions and into maximising the benefits from the equipment,” said Dr Julie Finch, Corporate Strategy and Policy Manager with Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) who ran the project.
The demand to take part in the project was extraordinary and feedback has been extremely positive. This meant that funding originally set aside to recruit farmers was converted into additional project vouchers so that 1,700 farmers were able to take part – 200 more than expected.
“A series of case studies has been developed to demonstrate how project farmers have explored the potential benefits of EID recording in commercial and pedigree situations,” said Dr Finch. “A new leaflet has been produced that we will use at farmer meetings during the autumn and the full case studies are available at the project website, www.ewemanage-IT.org.uk.”
Some had not used EID before but once started and into a routine it became easier. “Using the software to download and use the information gathered was the most difficult element for most of the participants,” said Dr. Finch.
“We hope that these will encourage more farmers to consider EID recording to help them to manage their flocks”.
The EID Recording project was funded by the Rural Development Plan for Wales and delivered by HCC. It aimed to understand more about the barriers to the uptake of electronic recording, and it was originally intended that 1,500 sheep farmers would take part, each receiving £500 in return for them sharing their first experiences of using EID to record information about their flocks.
The full project findings and two new information resources on EID Recording will be available later this year.