Electronic Identification for Livestock

Reference ISO 11784 & 11785 Livestock Electronic Identification.

There are 2 practical considerations to appreciate when choosing Electronic Identification for use with cattle, pigs, sheep and lambs. – the tag and the method of reading. NB – All ISO 11784/5 readers should read all ISO 11784/5 tags, however range may vary whatever the relative performances. Claims that a particular reader works best with particular tags are nonsense.

Tags – Ignoring practical, application & retention issues, although worthy considerations, one should remember there may be a relationship between the read performance of an Electronic Identification tag & its cost. Antennae are made from copper wire, whether as an air coil or around ferrite, which is expensive and has a financial bearing. A simple rule of thumb is the bigger the tag the better the “range” – all other things being equal.

Readers (or more correctly the antennae) Fall into 2 categories :-

Plate or Panel readers are suitable for reading large numbers of tags rapidly, in single file, in a race or suitable weigh crate or crush. A few readers have memory, at a price, but most require an external memory such as a suitable weighing instrument or PC.

Hand Held readers – as inferred are hand held and used to read individual tags. Some simply read the tags EID, other have higher levels of functionality with basic relational features.

Myth Busting – Some plate readers work exceedingly well within steel environments. We’ve comprehensively demonstrated certain plate readers work superbly well within stainless steel weigh crates and galvanised steel hurdle race’s. But some certainly do not. This may be related to the readers Auto Tuning ability.

Date Time Stamp – For whatever ill conceived reasoning, many readers do not contain date time stamps – only a few do. Thus check the authenticity of read records if you’re using the reader for official applications such as movement records.

The Senior & Auto Drafter Indicators with memory have clocks. All records are date time stamped.

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The Bleep – is a highly misleading feature if you’re not aware of its meaning. Generally it infers an EID has been read BUT DOES NOT tell you it’s been recorded / stored to memory. An audible alarm should only sound when an EID has been memorised.

Practical Suggestions - If you’re intent upon using EID for management application it’s worth considering how and where you’ll be using the technology before you choose the type of reader or reader’s as well as the nature of the tag/s chosen. These have price implications which may not be considerable but never the less are a fact of life.

The Obvious - whatever the “Salesman“ may tell you, you cannot beat having a test drive yourself. Do not entertain a metaphorical “Chauffer“ who may hide performance issues. If you’re serious about making EID work for you you’ll already have considered this we’re sure ?

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