In the Autumn of last year, BLCS announced key development work surrounding provision of an online calf registration system and a new performance recording service, BASCO Limousin Performance Recording. I am pleased to announce both services will be available, as planned, to all members with effect from 2nd April, and this Notice will explain how you go about accessing and using them, as well as addressing the most common queries about them.
These developments are major, long-term extensions of BLCS’ core work. In taking them on, the Society’s aims and objectives are clear; driving breed improvement along with new tools and technologies as it builds a service that is relevant, adaptable, flexible and efficient to the needs of the breed, BLCS members, commercial producers and all relevant industry parties.
I hope the services become an asset to your breeding enterprise, significantly easing the time and management pressures relating to successful capture and analysis of your herd information and adding value to it.
Iain Kerr BLCS Chief Executive
| KEY FACTS:
The following notes are divided into two sections (BASCO Online Calf Registrations and BASCO Limousin Performance Recording) to provide as much information and clarity as possible. PLEASE NOTE, BOTH SERVICES WILL BECOME AVAILABLE FOR MEMBERS’ USE FROM MIDDAY ON THE 2ND APRIL.
1. BASCO Online Calf Registration
How do I register a new calf?
The new BASCO system can be accessed from any computer by going to the Limousin website and clicking on the On-line Herd Book button. This will take you to the login screen for the new site. Your current username and password will not work with the new system, you will need to register the first time you use the system. This is done by clicking on the Register here button and following the on screen instructions. Where the system asks for a password, this can be anything you wish. Once you have completed the registration form you will then receive a registration confirmation email.
It is EXTREMELY important to ensure that the email address the Society currently holds corresponds with the email address you use to register on the new system as this will allow Basco to identify the correct herd. To check your details please contact the Society on 02476 696500 or email email@example.com.
Please note once you have registered to use the new BASCO system your existing BASCO GTX link will be suspended.
I have previously registered calves online via BASCO GTX. Will I continue to use this?
This BASCO re-build has been carried out to allow it to be a fully web enabled system. This will mean that you will no longer have to download the GTX programme onto your computer; you will be able to access the application from any computer. This system will now work on Apple Macs and Ipads alongside Windows PCs to make it more versatile and user friendly. Once you have registered to use this facility, your link to BASCO GTX will be suspended.
What processes can I do?
The ‘Add Animal’ screen has been adapted to utilise web based tools such as drop down calendars and auto population where applicable. Also rather than one registration per screen you now have the ability to select how many animals to register and the correct number of forms will appear on one screen. Unlike the current GTX if the screen is exited part way through a registration the details are not lost and will be available next time you enter the add animal screen.
What if I have too many registration forms on the page?
If you select three registration forms but only want to complete two of them there is a button that can remove the extra form and allow the two completed ones to be submitted.
What details are auto-populated?
With the move to the Ministry Tag number being the main identifier the new system will auto-populate your Herd Book number using the year of birth and the last four digits of the tag number entered. Many members already tie up the herd book number and tag number as this aids identification of animals and corresponds with BCMS.
How do I know if my registrations have been successful?
The new system is colour coded. If an entry passes the validation checks then it turns green, if it fails the validation then the box will turn red and an error message will appear as to what is incorrect with data entered. Once all the boxes are green then the submit button can be pressed.
The registration will be sent to the database and a message will appear on the screen saying that the registration is being processed and then that it has finished. The system will automatically send you an email showing details of the animal(s) you have registered.
If any animals you have submitted go into the holding tank a message will appear on the screen as to why they have gone into it and these details will also appear on the email receipt.
What details can I look up?
The system shows a list of the live animals currently in your ownership. By selecting one of the animals from this list you are able to view full pedigree, performance and progeny details as currently available on the on-line herd book.
It is also possible for members to view their own animals in the holding tank and the reason why they are in there.
Can I register embryo calves?
At the present time the only function available is to add a calf conceived naturally or by AI. You can also register dead calves with no ministry tag number so that the dams’ records are kept up to date. There is no charge for this.
Programming is currently being carried out that will enable registration of embryo calves and once this function is available we will let you know. In the meantime, please telephone embryo registrations into the office but please make clear that you have been using the new Online BASCO system so staff are aware that your usual login will not work.
I don’t have a computer. Are the existing paper and telephone registration services to remain available?
Yes. Although the use of online registration will be increasingly encouraged, you may still register calves by post and by telephone.
2. BASCO Limousin Performance Recording
I don’t currently performance record, but would like to start doing so. How do I do this?
Go to the Limousin website (www.limousin.co.uk) and click on the Online Herd Book button. This will take you to the Home Page of the new site. Click on the ‘Society Member Login’ to take you to the login screen. Your current username and password will not work with the new system; you will need to register the first time you use the system. This is done by clicking on the ‘Register Here’ button and following the on-screen instructions. Where the system asks for a password, this can be anything you wish. Once you have completed the registration form you will then receive a registration confirmation email.
It is EXTREMELY important to ensure that the email address the Society currently holds corresponds with the email address you use to register on the new system as this will allow Basco to identify the correct herd. As well as email reminders, you can also opt into text message (SMS) alerts for example for weighing reminders, so it is important that your mobile number corresponds to the one held by the Society. To check your details please contact the Society on 02476 696500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have successfully logged in to the site you will automatically go straight to ‘My Page’. This page is a hub from where you access all the site features. To start performance recording, click ‘View’ alongside your herd name, then the ‘Enter New Performance Records’ button. You will be presented with the BLCS Terms and Conditions, which you will need to confirm acceptance of before you can proceed further. Once this has been done, you are ready to start managing and inputting new herd records. Help buttons on each page should guide you through the system, or click on ‘Help’ on the main toolbar to access a full Users’ Guide pdf document.
Herd Preferences are an important feature of the service and will help you to carry out weighings on time (and scanning if you choose to do it). From ‘My Page’ please click on the ‘Herd Preferences’ button and select how you would like to be reminded of key dates.
I currently performance record my herd with Signet. What should I do?
Signet will discontinue providing a service for Limousin herds on 31st March 2013 and your contract with them will automatically end at this point. If you wish to continue performance recording your herd, you should access BASCO Limousin Performance Recording as described above. The first time you use the service you will also need to register your email address and login details and follow the same process as herds that are new to performance recording above.
If you have been sent Weigh Sheets from Signet in recent weeks, please use them to carry out your weighing if you wish, but do not return them to Signet after 31st March. All records you wish to add to your animals’ files after this date should be entered through the online service.
I would like to performance record my herd but don’t have a computer. Is a paper or telephone service available as an alternative?
Much consideration was given to providing a paper and/or telephone recording service but investigation found the cost of doing so prohibitive and unsustainable. The system is deliberately flexible to allow access from any computer, offering opportunities for other partners in the business or family members to maintain the herd records, or even a farm secretary or adviser. It will also work well with a variety of mobile devices, thereby removing the need for a fixed farm computer.
What will I be able to do and see online?
As a performance recording herd, you will be able to see and carry out the following:
- Enter new herd records, such as weights, scrotal size, docility scores etc that all contribute towards your animals’ EBVs.
- Create your own groups of animals to make recording, reports and weigh sheets easier to manage e.g. Top Shed, Back Paddock etc.
- Create User Groups with fellow breeders of your choice to share records and an internal mail system
- View and customise reports of animals in your herd. (These reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel and imported with Excel-compatible farm software).
- View your herd census. As the programme is developed you will also be able to edit your herd census and record herd transfers and animal deaths.
- View Calf Performance Records, both current and historic. These reports show the ‘raw data’ records that are attached to each of your animals and are produced after each measurement event.
- View, customise and export to Microsoft Excel the EBV reports for Sires, Dams and Youngstock.
- Manage how you receive mobile phone and email reminders of key dates such as forthcoming weighings and scanning.
All this information is password-protected. Other breeders will not be able to access it unless you choose to share it with them via a User Group.
I would like some background information on Performance Recording and EBVs before I decide to start. Where can I find this?
Go to the Limousin website (www.limousin.co.uk) and click on the On-line Herd Book button. This will take you to the Home Page of the new site. Click on ‘BLPR Guide to EBVs’ on the top menu bar.
If you would like to discuss performance recording, please contact Alison Glasgow, BLCS Technical Manager on 01721 730664 / 07885 255621 or email email@example.com.
If I start the performance recording system and get stuck or have a query, where do I get help?
Once you have logged in to use the site, click on ‘Help’ on the top menu bar to access a pdf document ‘Users’ Guide to Online Registrations and Performance Recording’
As you work through the site you will also see these symbols: . Click on these to access help pop-ups relevant to the part of the site you are working on.
If the online help information does not solve the problem, you can phone the Limousin Society office for assistance on 02476 696500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What will it cost and how will I be charged?
Membership of the BASCO Limousin Performance Recording scheme runs on an annual basis from the day you confirm you wish to join the scheme by accepting the Terms and Conditions. Fees will be invoiced by the Society at that point and will be £5/calf registered in the year prior to joining. For example, a herd joining in 2013 will be charged £5 for each calf that was registered in 2012. The annual fee for very large herds will be capped at £650.
What about scanning services?
Ultrasound scanning services for muscle depth and fat depth will continue to be provided by the existing technicians and providers and at the same fees. Scanning is optional (although encouraged) and the fees charged are separate, and not included in the performance recording fees indicated in this document.
Scanning records will be submitted by each technician to the BLCS office for entering onto the BASCO database on their behalf. Breeders will not be required to input this information.
Further information relating to scanning and the technician that will cover your area can be found on the Home page by clicking on ‘BLPR Guide to EBVs’ on the top menu bar.
Is the Society aiming to do any on-farm weight verifications?
The present models sees recording members submit their own weight data and this very much will continue to be the case. Some 30 years in, the BLUP/genetic evaluation model is extremely robust and provides figures that are both accurate and reliable and which can take into account variations and extremes in data submitted. Historically, and mainly through cost, it has not been possible to have people employed and on the road checking and verifying large numbers of herds when they are weighing cattle. This continues to be the case. However, the Society is very much aiming to introduce a level of on-farm checking of weights as it sees necessary. It will be introduced initially through, and in association with, routine herd inspections.
I have further questions on this subject; where can I get answers?
In November 2012, a Notice to Members was circulated announcing development of this initiative. This was also in a Question & Answer format, and in addition to some of the above, it also addressed issues such as:
- Why is the Society providing these new services?
- What is the importance of performance recording for the breed and in the forward industry?
- Why paperless and on-line?
- Can you outline some examples of the fees for herds of different sizes?
- Is the service being run to make a profit?
- What are the further opportunities now the Society has taken on this service?
- Will there be a reduction in the costs of performance recording?
- Will all BLCS members be asked to make a contribution to the costs of genetic evaluations and performance recording services?
If you would like a further copy sent to you, please email email@example.com or phone the BLCS office on 02476 696500.
Alternatively, please contact Alison Glasgow, BLCS Technical Manager on 01721 730664 / 07885 255621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t be in the dark if you have a question. We want to know your views and hear your feedback.