Livestock Information Programme - FAQs


Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Livestock Information Programme.

The Livestock Information Programme (LIP) is an Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)-led partnership between Government and industry that will design and begin to implement a new multi-species Livestock Information service.  This new service will replace the existing ageing statutory livestock traceability services for cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer (BCMS, ARAMS and EAML2).

Working in partnership, Defra and industry will develop world leading standards of livestock traceability in England. This will deliver a competitive trade advantage, make us more resilient and responsive to animal disease and will drive innovation, interoperability and productivity improvements throughout the meat and livestock sector.

The key objective of the programme is to implement a robust, accurate and flexible livestock traceability and information service that enables the UK to maintain existing high levels of livestock traceability and to enable:

  • More effective livestock disease management and control nationally, regionally and within herds/flocks
  • More accurate disease forecasting and data modelling
  • More proportionate, targeted enforcement and inspections
  • Increased consumer confidence in British meat products
  • Easier ways of recording livestock events quickly and accurately
  • Increased livestock productivity efficiencies
  • Domestic and international trade opportunities

At its heart, the Livestock Information Service will collate, manage and safely share the data associated with animals from birth to death in a GDPR-compliant way.  It will also enable the development of a range of ‘value-add’ products and tools that have the potential to benefit the meat and livestock industry.

Livestock Information Ltd is a new independent company created on 1st October 2019 by the Livestock information Programme and is owned 51% by AHDB and 49% by Defra.  Livestock Information Ltd will manage the creation and roll-out of the service.

The Livestock Information Programme (LIP) is the Defra – AHDB collaborative programme to create the new service known as Livestock Information.

The main software platform - which will form the heart of the Livestock Information Service – will be supplied by Shearwell Data, who are well-known in the industry for their farm data systems.  They will be working with the software company SCISYS, who are experts at adapting software for use in the field, from satellites in space to undersea surveying.

Shearwell’s product was the clear winner of an exhaustive procurement competition led and run by AHDB, and the contract is the single biggest procurement in the organisation’s history.

Meanwhile, the Data Integration software will be supplied by Equine Register Ltd, another familiar name. Data integration is the process of combining data from different sources into one usable package, so getting this element right will be critical to the success of the system.  Equine Register already manage the Central Equine Database and the National Chipchecker for Defra.

Shearwell, SCISYS and Equine Register will work with Livestock Information Ltd to develop the service but the service itself will be operated by Livestock Information Ltd alone and these companies gain no competitive advantage from this relationship for their other farm data software operations or similar products.

The next stage of the work will revolve around taking the software packages which have been procured and using them to create a custom-built service which is ready for testing.  This testing will begin in early Summer 2020.

Alongside this we are carrying out development of “value-add” services.  These are applications which can use the data from the Livestock Information Service to improve efficiency and profitability.

We plan to start roll-out of the Livestock Information Service from late 2020 for cattle, closely followed by services sheep, goats, deer and pigs.  We will share exact timings when they are available as part of a comprehensive transition and adoption change plan.

Existing livestock movement services will continue to operate until the new service is fully set up to minimise disruption. We will announce and explain all the changes in good time, and we will provide help and advice to manage the move to the new service.

The new service will be flexible enough to be adapted for use with other species in the future should the need arise. The equine, camelid and poultry sectors have already expressed an interest in the possibility of using the service.

If you are in the meat production industry you will be told what preparation you need in a range of ways.  You can expect to see updates in the farming press and from AHDB and Defra communications.  We will also use BCMS to update you on what you need to do.  There will also be updates available from the partner organisations who are helping to build the service, including NFU, BBS, BPS, BSS, Alidma, LAA etc.

The Livestock Information Service will be a digital service, supported by an experienced customer service team to assist those who are less able to use digital channels. It is being designed for maximum reliability, effectiveness and ease-of-use, and has the potential to allow the creation of data-driven tools and applications that could drive productivity efficiencies, improve animal health and welfare and bolster domestic and international trade.

Livestock Information will operate on a software platform originally designed by Shearwell Data Ltd. Shearwell and software developers SCYSIS will help Livestock information Ltd to adapt this product for use with the Service, but neither Shearwell nor SCYSIS will operate the final product or have access to the data it manages. 

Livestock Information Ltd owns the software product outright and Shearwell gains no competitive advantage from this relationship for its other farm data software operations.

The Livestock Information Service will operate throughout England. The service  will be compatible with equivalent services in Scotland (ScotEID), Wales (EIDCymru) and Northern Ireland (APHIS > NIFAIS) to ensure seamless movement of livestock across the UK.  The UK government, through Defra, will keep the ‘UK View’ of livestock traceability that underpins ‘whole UK’ meat and livestock trade both domestically and internationally.

The Livestock Information Programme is an AHDB-led partnership between AHDB, Defra and industry. Industry is well represented by the Traceability Design User Group (TDUG).  TDUG is an independent stakeholder group chaired by a farmer, John Cross. Its membership includes representatives from more than 16 industry bodies, two academic institutions and five government organisations.

Defra is funding Livestock Information to develop new statutory livestock traceability, replacing the existing services of BCMS, ARAMS and EAML2.

Having a more accurate database of livestock information on a modern IT platform protected by GDPR, then for the first time unlocks the potential for industry to develop ‘value-added’ non-statutory services that could increase production efficiencies, improve animal health and welfare or create other benefits for producers, consumers and UK trade . The funding and development of these added-value benefits will be led and co-ordinated by AHDB.

Livestock Information will deliver world-leading standards of livestock traceability across beef, pig meat, lamb, goat and venison sectors. This will offer the potential for whole-of-life traceability and better point of sale information, which in turn will drive up consumer confidence in British meat products.

The statutory service will increase accuracy and timeliness of livestock data so we all have a much better view of where the animals are at any given time and can trace movements back more quickly in the event of a disease outbreak.