Category Archives: Farm Software

Farm Matters Grid Layouts

Farm MattersWe are pleased to tell you that the latest version of Farm Matters (Version 2016.4.4) includes a new feature called grid layouts. This feature will allow you to have multiple layouts of a grid and switch between them easily. You could have one layout with columns switched on about breeding, another layout with the weight columns, another for medication, etc.

To switch on this feature load a screen such as On Farm andGrid Layouts go to Tools->Layout Selector. You will see a small toolbox appear called ‘Grid Layouts’. To create a new layout simple click the add button and give the new layout a name (Note: nothing will initially change on the grid). You can then move the columns around as desired for the new layout. If you then want to view the original layout simply select it from the drop down and the layout will change. There is no need to save layouts, this is done automatically when you leave the screen. You can call on the different layouts at any time. This is available on most screens inc. Cattle On Farm, Individual Sheep, Fields, Sales, Purchases, Treatments, Products, etc.

Tag-ie4 EID Reader

Tag-ie4 Handset

Tag-ie4 EID Reader

If you are looking for a easy to use and cost effective EID solution, Tag-ie4 is the answer. For only £250+VAT the Tag-ie 4 includes:
• Batching of tag lists
• Weights recording
• 4,000 tag capacity
• Lightweight & IP66 rating

Tag-ie4 is fully compatible with Farm Matters. The software can download data directly from the handset either into your events or to display on screen. History data can be uploaded directly to the handset from Farm Matters with a choice of what data to upload. For more details about Tag-ie4 or to order one, please contact Neil on 0191 3000 189.

Sheep Tagging Confusion

It has come to our attention that some sheep farmers think they need to record the individual chip number of slaughter/flock mark tags. This is not the case! The rule of thumb is you only need to record what you can see. The legislation is based on the visible identification at the point of the event.

Conversely some farmers think they don’t need to record when tagging animals with slaughter/flock mark tags. However it is a legislative requirement that all tagging events are recorded including slaughter/flock mark tags. This can be as simple as recording ‘250 x UK123456’ in your identification records (Section 3 of the Holding Register).

Farm Matters Tip: If you tag your animals as they leave your farm, you can simply enter the movement off/sale event into Farm Matters and answer yes to the ‘Record Tagging’ question. This will automatically create the identification records based on the tag numbers entered for the movement.

If you have any queries please get in touch.

RPA Sheep Inspections

This is vitally important that all sheep producers read this.

We have been made aware of many farmers having experienced full RPA sheep inspections. To our shock and dismay we learn that the inspectors are out sourced to a company called HallMark Ltd. This has unearthed rather dangerous results in the inspectors application of the legislation criteria and therefore is causing many false inspection issues and breaches of cross compliance.

One of the issues raised is the fact that sheep producers must present a copy of the Holding Register in original booklet form as supplied by the RPA.

It is NOT a requirement to have the manual Holding register completed as an addition to any correctly presented print outs or correctly presented records. This is NOT a breach of cross compliance and if this is suggested by the inspector we strongly recommend protesting this issue and informing the RPA of the matter.

We are confident that Farm Matters Software will produce the correct records for RPA sheep inspections in accordance with cross compliance and government regulations.

If you have any experiences like this or wish to discuss the matter please get in touch.

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ARAMS (Animal Recording And Movement Service)

With less than two weeks until the system is scheduled to go live everyone should have heard about the the new Animal Recording And Movement Service (ARAMS) for sheep, goats and deer. We’ve been talking to people within the industry and there appears to be plenty of sheep farmers, farm managers and even markets that know little or nothing about the new system. There are even more people who are confused about what ARAMS is and what benefits it offers.

ARAMS is the new system for sheep farmers to notify sheep, goat & deer movements. No more sending AML1 forms to your local Trading Standards, instead producers must notify ARAMS at their Milton Keynes office. The first thing to clarify is that AML1 forms must accompany sheep, goats and deer on all movements (a slightly modified version of the form will be released) as they do presently. Notifying ARAMS can be done via mail and fax as usual or via two new methods; firstly a new website run by ARAMS and secondly via your Farm Software Provider such as our highly recommended Farm Matters.

ARAMS is definitely a good idea for inspectors and legislative bodies like RPA with all movements recorded in a central location in a standardised format. But will it benefit farmers? Maybe! Since an AML1 must still accompany all movements little will change in the practicalities of moving sheep, goats and deer. The benefits will be more from a record keeping & reporting perspective. You will now be able to record and notify movements in a single step using electronic notifying rather than keeping the required records and then posting/faxing a copy to Trading Standards. Unfortunately the electronic reporting system is not as straight forward as good old BCMS. Whereas BCMS simply requires you to notify an on or off regardless of where cattle are being moved from/to, ARAMS take a different approach.

  • You cannot record movements to store or slaughter markets, it is the markets responsibility to record this
  • On movements should not be notified rather you must confirm on movements from a list downloaded from ARAMS
  • However on movements where you are also recording the off movement should be notified in full to ARAMS

Our research leads us to believe initially most sheep farmers are not going to use electronic reporting and instead stay with the tried and tested methods of fax and mail. Some farmers will benefit from ARAMS while most will wonder ‘What am I gaining?’; the answer unfortunately is not a great deal.

Cross Compliance breaches cost farmers £1.4 million in 2012

RPA have released figures showing that farmers have seen their SPS (Single Payment Scheme) payments reduced by £1.4 million for failing to comply with the Cross Compliance regulations.

Of the 1,947 breaches, the most common was failing to report cattle deaths or movements, at 670 breaches. It is important to not only keep accurate records but to report them to BCMS in a timely manner. Reporting movements and deaths is easy with a host of options: CTS Online, CTS Self-Service Helpline or our personal favourite, Farm Matters.

The number of NVZ (Nitrate Vulnerabel Zone) breaches have almost trebled from 72 to 205 in 2012. We understand the NVZ regulations appear complicated but RPA will not accept this as a reason for failure to keep the accurate and up to date records. If you struggle with NVZ record keeping either use our farmer friendly software, NVZ Matters, or contact a qualifed professional, such as Countryside Consulting Ltd (01409 281 038).

Can you afford to lose 5% of your SPS payments? No! Ensure you keep your Cross Compliance records accurate and up to date.

Single Payment Supervisor off and running

Today Single Payment Supervisor Online went live. Already we have had many customers downloading forms and several claim submissions.

Remember if you’ve used the online system before RPA will no longer send you a paper copy of your form, although you can request one by contacting them. For those who haven’t used the online system before (I recommend Single Payment Supervisor for this) your paper forms should follow soon and also include your PIN letters needed to use the online service.

Unfortunately for agents who don’t have a PIN number for this service already you cannot request a new PIN until 7th March when RPA switch the required system back on.

Single Payment Supervisor faster than SPS Online?

Single Payment SupervisorIn 2012 we analysed sixteen Single Payment Scheme claims (we know it isn’t exactly a major study but we did at least vary the complexity of the claims) comparing how long they took to complete on paper compared to using Single Payment Supervisor and found it was 48.2% faster using our software.

We had hoped to compare Single Payment Supervisor to SPS Online but time wasn’t on our side, however we managed three comparisons. Please note this is definitely too small a sample group to draw solid conclusions! The tests involved completing the claims but not actually submitting them.

On average Single Payment Supervisor was 28.6% faster than SPS Online. This was due to the significantly better responsiveness of Single Payment Supervisor. With SPS Online a lot of time was spent refreshing web pages (Note we used a high speed 20Mb Internet connection).

Once again we must stress that this is too small a sample group from which to draw firm conclusions. That being said the evidence here does support the feedback we have received from customers that our software if faster (and easier) then SPS Online.

Single Payment Scheme Application Period

Single Payment Supervisor

It’s approaching that time of year again (so soon!) where farmers must make they Single Payment Scheme subsidy claim. Land agents are run off their feet and farmers are panicking about making a correct submission. We now understand from RPA that the application period will open on the 26th February (assuming testing doesn’t highlight any issues).

Every year we have our keen Single Payment Supervisor users desperately wanting to know how soon before they can download and submit their SP5 forms. We thought we could investigate how long the submission period has been over the last five years.

2013: 26th February – 15th May (79 days)
2012: 28th February – 15th May (78 days)
2011: 1st March – 16th May (77 days)
2010: 15th March – 17th May (64 days)
2009: 4th March – 15th May (73 days)

Well the results are in and it’s good news. Each year, 2010 excepted, the period in which to make your Single Payment Scheme submission is increasing with six more days available this year than in 2009, an increase of 8%. For the individual farmer this probably doesn’t make too much difference in submitting their one or two applications, however for a land agent filling in dozens if not hundreds of these important claims those extra days are crucial. In conclusion we congratulate RPA on moving in the right direction!