Stock agents are collecting an extra fee from farmers buying and selling cattle in Southland so saleyards can pay for new technology required by NAIT.
However NAIT officials have distanced themselves from the new charge.
A Southland farmer said when he bought cattle at Lorneville saleyard in Invercargill last week he discovered a ''RFID admin fee'' of 75 cents plus GST per cattle beast on his invoice from PGG Wrightson.
RFID stands for radio frequency identification device, a reference to the new National Animal Identification and Tracing ear tags that became mandatory for cattle in July.
NAIT chief executive Russell Burnard said some saleyards were charging fees for recording animal movements to and from sales.
''We respect that they are entitled to do this, but have asked the industry to make it clear that these are not statutory NAIT-imposed fees.''
Lorneville saleyard chairman of directors Gordon Smith said the saleyard had extra costs to get the yard ready for NAIT.
The new $40,000 NAIT scanner in the saleyards had to be paid for by someone, he said.
New Zealand Stock and Station Agents Association chairman Terry Cairns, who is also a director of the Lorneville saleyard and owner of South Stock, said Southland stock agents were collecting the fee to cover the costs of new technology, labour and saleyard administration costs.
The 75cent charge for cattle would cover the extra costs at Lorneville, he said.
Stock agencies also had greater day-to-day costs after the implementation of NAIT such as buying portable electronic readers and extra administration costs, he said.
However, South Stock would not charge customers another fee to cover those costs, he said.
PGG Wrightson Southland livestock manager Andrew Martin said the industry was still getting used to the NAIT scheme.
''Everyone's quite confused, it's a new concept.''
He did not know of any extra fee being charged by PGG Wrightson to cover administration costs but if agents had to visit farms and use a portable eartag reader then there could be charges to cover travel and the technology, he said.
CRT stock agent Allan Thompson said CRT collected the 75 cent fee from clients for Charlton saleyard in Gore.
He was unaware of fees charged for administration costs but would not be surprised if they were, he said.
Elders Southland stock agent Neil McCrostie said the 75 cent fee was fair.
''It's quite reasonable.''
He expected the fee to fluctuate, he said.
Federated Farmers Animal ID spokesman Anders Crofoot said he had heard of a Canterbury saleyard charging $1 per head of cattle.
Ideally saleyards would have absorbed the cost, rather than charge the farmers and he hoped stock agents would not saddle farmers with another administration fee of their own, he said.
''Farmers wind up wearing everybody's cost.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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