Are you registering your animals correctly in NAIT?
If you are rearing or selling calves for beef production be sure to assign the correct animal production type in the NAIT online system, says Top of the South TBfree Chair Richard Tripe.
Mr Tripe, like many farmers throughout the country, is in midst of calving and is familiar with the increasing trend of calves finishing as beef animals.
Industry estimates this practice has potential to generate millions to the wider sector, while meeting the aspirational goal of establishing a more sustainable, viable and ethical value chain.
From birth, all cattle and deer are assigned with a primary production type. This determines the amount farmers pay for their TB slaughter levy. While herds start life with a production type, individual animals can be classed different.
“You might have 800 dairy animals but five beef animals within a herd. If you choose not to update or specify the correct production type for the beef livestock, those animals will be considered dairy and will automatically inherit that status throughout their existence,” says Richard.
It was important farmers identified and recorded all animals accurately in the NAIT online system from birth, after selling, purchasing, or prior to being consigned to slaughter.
This was not only essential towards establishing effective livestock traceability but ensures farmers don’t accumulate unexpected charges in the future.
“Those calves you move on to a rearer, are likely to go through a number of different NAIT locations and be handled by several PICAs before they end up for finishing.
“Two years or later, if you haven’t assigned the correct production type, expect to be charged the dairy slaughter levy, which is more than the beef levy.
“This is why updating your NAIT account on a regular basis actually pays and is not merely another compliance request,” says Richard.
Farmers though can still change the production type if finishing dairy animals as beef.
But remember, says Richard, “this must be updated in the NAIT online system 62 days before they go for slaughter, otherwise the dairy levy applies.”
When sending or receiving calves, the farmers involved should always create and confirm the ‘movement’ and ensure it is recorded in the NAIT online system, with an Animal Status Declaration (ASD) form to physically move with the animals.
“Don’t forget that ASD, it is something farmers tend to overlook when they are managing calves. Not taking these responsible actions can influence the effectiveness of our NAIT and TBfree programmes and increase the risk of disease spread or a biosecurity incursion, “says Richard.
In the event of a disease outbreak, the capability and swiftness of a government and industry response depends on farmers entering accurate and up to date information about calves or livestock into the NAIT online system.
Meat processors who receive untagged animals will charge the levy based on the primary NAIT location, while the levy for unregistered animals will be subject to the tag production type.
Farmers that believe they have been charged the wrong levy amounts, should contact OSPRI. They will need to provide information about the levy charge and the correct production type.
More information on the TB slaughter levy here