How To Use Electronic Ear Tags For Cattle Identification

The identification of livestock is essential for traceability and is directly linked to human health and livestock conservation. The identification of cattle has both visual and management benefits. By using cattle ear tags that identify your individual animals, you can be more confident about identifying them and manage their performance. Additionally, being able to track an individual’s performance helps you determine which animals are performing well.

Meat, milk and animal products’ supply chains are driven by the need to trace: identifying and tracing animals is essential to any commercial operation since the animals spend their entire lives in one place and are only processed into abattoirs or sold.

As the latter circumstance occurs most frequently far from the animals’ place of origin, the absence of information about the animal’s health may lead to severe health risks. For that reason moving animals without control is not feasible, and it is even more important to be able to monitor animals throughout their entire lives. Under these circumstances, the use of new technologies may prove useful in controlling the spread of diseases and in reducing the risk of contamination, which poses a major threat to public health.

A form of identification is highly recommended for each animal kept on a farm to enable and ensure a healthy process at the source while managing the farm. Farmers can use this method to capture all relevant data about their herd from birth to slaughter and keep records for measurements of weight gain, milk production, pregnancies, deliveries, medical treatment, past illnesses, etc.

Types of Ear Tags For Cattle Identification

In all countries around the world, National Regulatory bodies regulate the sale and distribution of any form of identification, although it is usually mandatory or requested for specific activities. Such regulations are generally intended to at least track the number of livestock registered under the farm owner’s name. When a farmer purchases tags, he may apply them using the appropriate applicator.

1. Non-Electronic Ear Tag

These ear tags are common on both commercial and communal farms. They are a simple and straightforward method of identifying which sire lines are contained in the breeding herd. They can be given additional numbers/letters as desired by the farmer.

2. Electronic Ear Tags

EID is the process by which an individual animal can be tracked via an electronic ear tag throughout its entire life time.

By using an EID tag for tracing, weighing process can be quickly conducted, errors from manual input can be reduced, and labor costs can be saved. As soon as the EID tag has been read by an EID reader, the weighing scale indicator automatically triggers the recognition of the animal, the recording of the weight, and other pertinent information about the animal.

Also, they permit more effective management of an individual herd’s performance. Several commercial dairy farmers use EID as a method to speed up data collection from the microchip embedded in the tags. The Electronic Identification of Animals (EID) tags provides the opportunity to better manage the performance of individual animals. It is possible to track the animal’s weight history, identify the best performers, and manage the input of resources to maximise profits.

By reading electronic ear tags on animals that are weighing at the weigh station, or running through a race, Tru-Test EID readers provide new information about your livestock rapidly. All Tru-Test EID readers are rugged, reliable, 100% water and dust proof, and are suitable for cattle, sheep, and deer applications. Analyzing animal information against EID tags can help you make informed health, breeding and caloric decisions.

Hot To Use Electronic Ear Tag

Many cattle electronic ID readers have a memory capability that allows scanned electronic ID values to be stored for later transfer to a computer. These features are highly recommended, because they eliminate the need for additional equipment or computer at the pens or working chute to look at the EID number. In CattleMax, each cattle’s EIDs on their animals can be downloaded directly into CattleMax, and events can even be applied, such as medical treatments or pasture locations, for the cattle that have been worked.

How To Link Electronic Ear Tag Into Your Existing Herd

There are two ways to link electronic ear tags with existing visual ear tags when replacing existing visual ear tags with elecytonic ear tags. They are: 

1. Importing a Spreadsheet

There may be a way you can download a spreadsheet of your electronic ID number from your point of purchase or order. Simply find the files you require and download them from your tag manufacturer’s website. Simply enter the visual tag in the column next to the electronic ID number while working cattle. Once complete, you can import the file directly into CattleMax.

2. Using the TagMax App

There is an easy way for those with an iPhone or iPad to grab a copy of the data. TagMax is now available for the Allflex RS420, the Allflex LPR, the Tru-Test SRS2, as well as the Tru-Test XRS2. In this app, your device scans the tag with its reader and the visual identification that accompanies it is assigned. Once you have scanned your tag with your reader, the app will generate a CSV file that is then imported to CattleMax by following the instructions above.

Advantages Using Electronic ID tags

Using Electronic ID tags has many advantages:

In connection with a constant need for improvement in management and production practices, the use of digital identification/RFID cattle tags is becoming increasingly popular in the beef industry. EID tags are small buttons placed in cow’s ears. The EID tag is designed to be read with an EID reader, and it has a unique 15-digit number printed on the tag. This number can also be read using an EID scanner.

These tags are much smaller and designed to hold onto animals more tightly than visual tags. Visual tags are often lost, snagged on fences, etc., whereas EID tags are durable and tend to stay put for longer.

In the chute, animals may be identified more quickly by scanning the tag with a reader rather than having to be completely still to read a visual tag or tattoo number.

By scanning EID tags instead of manually entering the number on the animal’s ear tag, tremendous time savings are achieved and errors are minimized. When cattle are being moved, they can be checked for their EID tags.

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