NFU Scotland has hit out at not being fully consulted on the development of a new Livestock Information Service south of the border by Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs), that was announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove this week.

The new service, set to be operational before Brexit next year, will give farmers and processors in England accurate information about animals and their movements.

Identifying and tracking animal movements via electronic IDs (initially dairy cows, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats) also means that the industry and government will be better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Defra has provided assurances that the new system will be compatible with livestock traceability programmes in all the devolved administrations, but NFUS livestock policy manager John Armour called for more "outreach" from Defra when devising such schemes in future.

Mr Armour said: "In Scotland we already use our own system of sheep traceability and the ambition is to see cattle traceability operate at a Scottish level. NFUS will continue to work with the Scottish Government and Scottish stakeholders towards this aim. It's vital that the new Defra system is built to ensure interoperability with systems elsewhere in the UK.

"As the Defra Livestock Information Programme progresses we need to see more outreach from Defra to other parts of the UK. Lately we have seen a tendency for Defra officials to primarily consult English stakeholders on issues that will clearly impact businesses across GB and the UK."

Details of the scheme were sparse, but Mr Gove said: "This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.

"Working hand-in-hand with industry, we will design and implement a service that puts food safety, animal health and welfare, and environmental enhancement at its core."

Market round-up

Lawrie & Symington Ltd had 1278 store cattle forward in Lanark on Tuesday when heifers sold to 295p per kg and averaged 226.4p (+6.5p on the fortnight), while beef-bred bullocks peaked at 289p and levelled at 240.2p (+13.1p). Dairy-bred bullocks sold to 220p and levelled at 179p (+21p).

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd sold 36 store heifers in Lockerbie on Tuesday to a top of 287.7p and an average of 232.8p (+2.5p), while 22 store bullocks peaked at 284.6p and levelled at 236.1p (-10.6p). Three store bulls sold to 206.9p and averaged 196.3p (no comparison).