Beef 2020: review report

A report to develop recommendations that will facilitate sustainable and long-term growth in beef production levels within Scotland.

Integrated easily accessible database

Scotland, through the use of the British Cattle Movement Service has a comprehensive cattle traceability database. However, this database offers little or no direct added value to the producer.

A fully integrated database could form the basis for the feedback of key performance indicators subject to the collection of some additional information (See Recommendation 9) and the integration of information already collected and held separately.

Producers will also benefit from being able to assess the performance outcomes of different breeding decisions and feeding regimes as well as the effectiveness of disease prevention measures all of which will lead to a more sustainable and productive industry. The wider community gains through the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of beef produced.

The Scottish pig industry, through the cooperative venture Wholesome Pigs, is an exemplar of how feedback of clinical and sub clinical animal health indicators can lead to significant economic benefit to producers. By collecting evidence at time of slaughter of subclinical disease the pig industry has been able to take prompt action to prevent health issues gaining ground among pig herds and through that improve market returns.

To best facilitate this vision the database would need to be managed in Scotland with the data owned by the whole industry. Added value for producers could be gained by ensuring this database can link to the GB national livestock traceability database thus providing one data entry point for all statutory livestock movement recording requirements.

The data held on individual animals would be accessible by all those who have owned the animal at any point. This will allow calf producers to monitor how their animals finally grade and finish and help to inform their breeding decisions.

Experience from the Republic of Ireland demonstrates the value to producers of such a database. As the database matures, producers can see that the value of the data increases with the quantity and accuracy of the input data. Producers receive an annual report outlining each animals performance measured against their herd, the breed and all breeds [14][15] .

Recommendation 8

Develop an integrated and accessible database containing livestock traceability data, farm assurance status and non-financial information collected at various points in the animal's life including breeding information related to physical performance, carcase weight, grade and health status as well as downgrades.


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