|Cattle industry moooves forward with electronic ID tags|
|Written by Becca Brandt|
As livestock arrived at the fairgrounds in preparation for the Phillips County Fair, all it took was the wave of a magic wand to produce the necessary information for an animal. Normally wand-waving is left to the magicians, but the practice has been utilized for nearly a decade at the local Fair.
Admittedly, there isn’t actually a real magic wand used in the process, but rather a bluetooth-enabled reader scanning an electronic identification ear tag.
When livestock is taken in for spring weigh-ins, they are fitted with an ear tag. A microchip is embedded in the tag, along with several feet of copper wire to pick up a signal from a wand reader.
EID simplifies the process when animals are taken back in the summer for Fair sales and showing. “We scan the ones that come back in at Fair and enter their weight and away we go,” explains Roger Koberstein, who first implemented the EID tag program at the Fair.
Koberstein has been helping with the Phillips County Fair for many years, especially with the Junior Livestock Auction, and has progressively streamlined the sale process from start to finish.
Along with removing human error as livestock is brought in, EIDs can be used to accumulate data and categorize animals based on the trailer in which they are leaving after the sale. Using EID tags keeps sales coordinators on top of the game, says Koberstein.
Other area Fairs have also begun using EID with Koberstein’s help. Currently Koberstein has a hand in the Phillips and Sedgwick County Fairs, as well as the National Western Stock Show.
Large venues like the stock show are the real test of EID efficiency with 1,500 junior market animals being accounted for in the system throughout the week-long event.
The cattle on Koberstein Farms are managed using electronic ID tags. The tags can be scanned to provide detailed information about each animal throughout its entire life.
EID tags prove profitable
With all the information that can be gathered using EID tags, people are willing to pay premiums for what has become a sort of cached cow, and for Koberstein, the business venture has become, well, a cash cow.
While Koberstein has to invest in the technology to run a successful farm, the source and age information provided by the EID tags brings in $50-100 more per head of cattle. Additionally, the price of tags has gone down significantly since Koberstein began using them.
For people who already have cattle operations, the tags are fairly easy to integrate into a system. The main investments are a wand reader and a smartphone or laptop that can receive the wand’s bluetooth signal to collect data. With bluetooth capabilities, the operation is wireless and very portable.
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