28 Feb 2012

NAIT scheme 'could take years' to bed down

6:32 am on 28 February 2012

Federated Farmers says farmers are getting to grips with the new National Animal Identification and Tracing system, but thinks it will take several years to fully bed down.

The NAIT scheme which passed into law early February becomes compulsory for cattle from July 2012 and from March 2013 for deer also.

The Federation resisted a compulsory scheme, arguing instead for a voluntary system of keeping track of individual animals with electronic ear tags linked to a central database.

Animal identification spokesperson Anders Crofoot says farmers can register their cattle and deer now and that will be the easy part of the process.

"When we start having to record movements that will probably be a bit trickier because it's more complicated," he says.

Mr Crofoot said when one or two cattle are involved it will simply be a matter of recording movements on the website.

Moving large numbers of stock straight to the works will also simple because the works will record the whole transaction rather than the farmer.

He said farm-to-farm movements will be more complex.

Mr Crofoot says Federated Farmers was initially concerned about how the NAIT scheme would cover the 175,000 lifestyle blocks in the country, but he says it has been reassured by the response from lifestyle block owners who have signed up so far.