New technology to advance Scottish cattle traceability

The new system will improve the speed and accuracy of traceability, according to the developers
The new system will improve the speed and accuracy of traceability, according to the developers

A new electronic identification (EID) system to track and monitor Scotland’s cattle herd promises to improve the speed and accuracy of traceability.

It enables the tracking of cattle throughout their entire life and evidences the provenance of Scotch Beef.

The proposed new system uses advanced Ultra High Frequency (UHF) scanning technology combined with Low Frequency technology.

The ScotEID database will bring together all farm livestock movement records within one central source and will lead to the removal of paper passports.



ScotEID, which manages the database for recording animal movements in Scotland, will incorporate births, deaths and movements of cattle.

It will replace the British Cattle Movement Service’s (BCMS) Cattle Tracing System (CTS) for Scottish cattle keepers.



The new system embeds data experience from research and development and current data management by ScotEID, with the use of UHF technology bringing a number of new benefits.

Bob Yuill, director of ScotEID said: “When the system is adopted in Scotland, then all movements to and from markets and to abattoirs will be recorded using UHF technology which is good from both a health and safety perspective but also for ease of use.

“Using electronic ID tags, electronic reading and electronic data transfer will reduce the administration burden and recording errors for the livestock sector and be safer in terms of requiring close handling of cattle.”

The BCMS CTS service has supported cattle recording in Scotland, England and Wales since going live on 28 September 1998 in order to meet EU legislation.

Since then, the cattle industry has experienced unprecedented changes.

Over the same period there have been significant advances in technology and the development of the internet to support new processes of tracing whole-life movement in real time.

The ScotEID team is planning a series of roadshow events to take place throughout Scotland from October until March to explain more about the system.