Switch now to save urges DARD’s chief vet

Robert Huey
Robert Huey

If you’re a livestock farmer you will know there are strict requirements that control the identification, tracing and movement of animals within your herd.

For decades you have been required to keep a herd book detailing the cattle you have, where they came from and if they moved on. You know these rules must be followed to stop the spread of diseases, particularly those caused by highly contagious viruses. You also know animal identification and traceability is important for public confidence in farm produce.

But do you know you can save time, money and energy by switching from your paper herd book to DARD’s online register Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS)?

Many farmers are already reaping the benefits of using the APHIS system including reducing the chance of making a mistake when registering the births and deaths of their animals.

To help you move from the traditional paper forms to the online system CAFRE offers farmers free APHIS training. During the course we will help you logon to APHIS to view your own herd details and show you all the benefits including how to:

l Registering cattle births, deaths and stillborns.

l Producing movement notification of cattle moving off your herd to market, abattoir or another farm.

l Confirming cattle movements into your herd.

l Viewing your herd list including information about your animals’ DARD statuses, TB & Br test results and export eligibility.

l Viewing movement and progeny history of every animal in your herd.

l Viewing post and ante mortem details of slaughtered animals.

l Producing a report to count and classify your animals as part of the Nitrate Action Programme.

Each course will take place over two evenings (two hours each). Everybody attending will be registered to use DARD Online Services, so you can access your own data when you finish the course. You will get the opportunity to work through a number of exercises and practice registering animals, moving animals and see the various reports of information available at APHIS online.

We have had a significant take-up rate with some 7,000 livestock farmers registered with APHIS and over some 300,000 calves registered online in the last 12 months. But we want to increase those figures during 2016.

It is not just the fact that it saves time, effort and money doing it online that is attracting farmers to make the switch to online. Farmers who have been using the system for years have commented on how great it is to get information on their herds when they need it and at the touch of a button – day or night.

Keeping an online herd register is voluntary and you can continue to maintain an on-farm herd register if you prefer, even if you currently use APHIS.

However, if you need more reasons to use APHIS remember the system is secure with your data protected by a password and stored safely by DARD. It is quick, with all registrations completed with immediate effect. You will have fewer errors as your data is check before registration and it is free with no charges for using it.

Places are now available on the APHIS training programme which take place over two evenings as detailed below. (Location/Evening One/Evening Two - both events 7.30-9.30pm)

Greenmount Campus, Antrim - Monday 15th February 2016 and Monday 22nd February 2016

Loughry Campus, Cookstown - Tuesday 16th February 2016 and Tuesday 23rd February 2016

Enniskillen Campus, Enniskillen - Wednesday 17th February 2016 and Wednesday 24th February 2016

Enniskillen Campus, Enniskillen - Monday 29th February 2016 and Monday 7th March 2016

Greenmount Campus, Antrim - Tuesday 1st March 2016 and Tuesday 8th March 2016

Loughry Campus, Cookstown - Wednesday 2nd March 2016 and Wednesday 9th March 2016

Loughry Campus, Cookstown - Monday 14th March 2016 and Monday 21st March 2016

Enniskillen Campus, Enniskillen - Wednesday 16th March 2016 and Wednesday 23rd March 2016

Greenmount Campus, Antrim - Wednesday 16th March 2016 and Wednesday 23rd March 2016

As well as free training courses, we have published a range of videos on our website explaining how to use it. You can register and find out more about APHIS by visiting: www.dardni.gov.uk/aphis-online-support

If you have any queries, please contact DARD Online Services helpdesk by emailing onlineservices@dardni.gov.uk or by calling 02894 426699.

As well as APHIS, DARD offers a range of other online services for you to manage your business including online farm maps, Single Farm Payment and the nitrate calculators. This range of services is free, secure and easy to use.