We have all heard and taken part in animal identification.

When you get your heifers bangs vaccinated, an orange metal tag is applied to the ear. This is an official identification for the federal government. This is also used as traceability for disease or any other problems. The federal government has been supplying these tags for free. This free service will be discontinued this coming Dec. 31, 2019. We will be able to purchase these metal tags for a limited time but everyone will have to go to the RFID tags (Radio Frequency Identification), eventually.

I already have some client’s switching to the EID (Electronic Identification) or RFID tags and have been using them for at least a year. It is really nice to just scan an ear and have the 15 digit ID. All pigs now must have this form of ID to do blood work or move from state to state. These tags are called RFID, AIN or 840 tags. Electronic is the way of the future.

By Jan. 1, 2023, the only ID for any animal will be the RFID tags.

The only animal that will be able to move anywhere will be the feedlot calf or animals moving directly to slaughter without electronic ID.

This will expedite identification of animals moving anywhere speeding up the process. Instead of reading each individual metal tag in a chute, they have ally bows with the electronic readers. With these ally bow readers the animals can run through single file quickly allowing the RFID to be read. That data can be bluetoothed into a computer and added to an Excel spreadsheet. This will reduce the stress on the animals not passing through a squeeze chute and being caught.

Companies also have stick readers that are what you would call redneck proof. You can drop them into a stock tank full of water or into the mud and they will still work.

Our local co-op has purchased one for the county fair here in Washington County, Ark. This expedites identification of the animals very quickly and can all be blue toothed into an excel spreadsheet. The kid and animal can be followed all the way through the sale process. Reading tattoos, metal ear tags or bangle ear tags will no longer be necessary, scanning makes it fast and easy.

The RFID tags will make trace back faster as well as releasing animals faster since they do not need to be quarantined. If a disease outbreak occurs, we can isolate and quarantine only the animals identified and not others. We can also see animals released from quarantine earlier that are not contagious.

It’s a win, win situation for all.

Dr. Tim E. O’Neill, DVM, owns Country Veterinary Service in Farmington, Ark. To contact Tim go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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