Farmers and crofters have been warned not to let cattle identification and tagging practices slip.
According to NFU Scotland an unacceptably high level of producers are breaching cattle rules during farm inspections.
The union said the breaches could results in significant sums of money being deducted from farmers’ support payments.
To aid producers, it has issued a guide on how to prepare for a cattle inspection.
Inspections, which are part of a wider audit requirement on government, must be carried out every year on 3% of all holdings with cattle, 5% of all Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme claimants and 5% of the animals claimed for under the scheme.
The union said unofficial reports from the inspections, which are carried out without warning, suggest there has been a worrying increase in the number of breaches particularly around registering and tagging of calves.
President Andrew McCornick, who runs a mixed beef and sheep farm in Dumfriesshire, said: “I know it is always a challenge to keep on top of registrations and tagging but the reality is that you run the risk of potentially losing thousands of pounds if calves are found by officials on inspection to be untagged and unregistered.
“Not only do you face penalties from your basic payments but the untagged and unregistered calves could be rendered valueless and deemed unfit for the food chain because the traceability cannot be guaranteed.”
Mr McCornick also urged producers to make sure their animal movement records, recording of deaths and cattle passports were correct and up to date.