Beef Efficiency Scheme in Scotland Welcomes Changes to Tissue Tagging

Beef Efficiency Scheme changes are finally moving into place after a number of Scottish farmers dropped out due to inefficiencies.

The Beef Efficiency Scheme (Scotland)

  • The Beef Efficiency Scheme itself is a way of estimating the genetic value of animals for breeding purposes
  • Farmers are required to gather tissue samples from a portion of their calves born per annum
  • Bulls are also required to be included in the tissue samples
  • The overall goal of the scheme is to assist farmers in making their herds more efficient which in turn is more environmentally and economically friendly


Farmers dropping out of the Beef Efficiency Scheme

– A number of beef farmers have decided not to participate in the Beef Efficiency Scheme in Scotland whilst some have withdrawn their efforts completely. This lack of participation stems from the administration of the scheme being extremely ineffective.

– Mounting pressure from the NFUS (National Farmers Union, Scotland) has led to changes in the processes and distribution of tissue tags for any calves that are born in 2017.

– Numerous tags arrived for different animals in the same batch of calves at different times of the year. This has led to large levels of frustration amongst farmers.

– NFUS has also brought other information to the attention of the Scottish Government, which is that some farmers have been unable to perform tissue sampling on animals due to the animals being sold before the tissue tags even arrived.


What is being done with the Beef Efficiency Scheme?

– The Scottish Government now has a new method for tissue sampling. Only one selection of animals will be used for tissue sampling per business per annum.

– This will mean that calves to be sold during Autumn that are born during Spring can have their information entered on the Beef Efficiency Scheme database earlier than normal.

– The data can be entered into the Beef Efficiency Scheme system by June 9th if they need to have their tags delivered between the end of July and the start of September in time for the Autumn sales.


Charlie Adam, NFU Scotland Livestock Committee, Chairman:

“Tags arriving at different times of the year for calves which were all born during the same period of time has frustrated our members. Scottish Government has listened and for calves born from 2017 onwards this should not be a problem again.”

“New flexibility that will allow farmers to get tissue tags sooner is welcome and should make it now workable for more farmers to tissue sample their 2017 spring-born calves. It is hoped that the same flexibility will be given later in the year for the autumn-born crop of calves.”

“It’s important that farmers remember that while they may choose to upload their Beef Efficiency Scheme data early in order to receive their tissue tags in early July, the existing deadline for entering calving data for spring-born calves has not changed, and it is necessary for this data to be entered by July 15th at the latest.”


“NFU Scotland has requested that the Scottish Government improve its communication with the Beef Efficiency Scheme applicants going forward, and continues to seek out improvements to the delivery of the Beef Efficiency Scheme which take in to account day-to-day farming. This change to tag distribution is an example of a positive change which has taken industry concerns on-board.”