RFID technology and livestock management: Benefits and possibilities
We’ve seen digital transformation by using RFID in supply chains and its benefits in terms of time and budget savings. We’ve also seen safety improvement in healthcare with implementation of RFID systems.
However, agriculture can also harvest huge benefits from this technology. Smart Farming and IoT have been a burning topic in past years. As tech adoption rates keep increasing, we’re going to see more and more smart farms around the world.
Today, we’re going to talk about using RFID technology in one of the areas in which we specialize – livestock management.
Key takeaways are that RFID on livestock farms:
- Reduces management and labor costs
- Makes sense of data and helps in farm growth
- Protects the farms and public health
Read on to find out more about every claim above.
USDA mandate requires tagging all livestock with RFID ear tags by 2023
Before we explain the benefits, we can’t oversee the (future) legal mandates that will push farmers to adapt quickly. USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) believes that RFID tracking will primarily prevent livestock disease outbreaks and plans on spending 8 million dollars on procuring RFID tags.
Using RFID for livestock identification is already a standard in the European Union.
These requirements have caused an increase in RFID popularity and offerings on the market.
The standard solution was metal ear tags. However, after eliminating metal and plastic tags from use in 2021, RFID is expected to replace them.
Why is RFID so efficient for livestock farms
Metal/plastic plates, tattoos and brands can easily get lost or cause errors in counting and scanning. RFID tags are pierced in an animal’s ear and can’t fall off easily.
The farmer doesn’t have to manually count the cattle, come near them, or make them stand still in order to scan them. Besides, manual labor causes many errors. Scanning electronically with RFID readers and collecting data in a central system for processing minimizes any errors.
This tech system allows you to gather data straight from the field without arduous work. As RFID systems can collect and store a lot of information, you get a bird’s-eye view of your livestock farm.
Here’s all the data you could collect this way –
- Birth Date
- Mother & Father’s ID Numbers
- Genetic Abnormalities
- Gestation Data
- Tattoo/Herd ID
- Frame Score (height & weight estimates)
- Body Condition (weight & body)
- Udder Scores (Udder quality)
- Veterinarian Records
Livestock disease tracking and public safety
Thanks to its ability to collect all of this data, RFID helps veterinarians to have a clear overview of animals’ health, track their condition, and apply proper treatment. Disease information can be sent to a public register and ensure safety of farms on a national level.
Depending on the equipment, farmers can track their cattle’s body temperature, injuries, overall health condition and schedule treatments on time.
It’s good for livestock farming business and theft prevention
RFID tags allow farmers to precisely identify every animal and prevent theft. GPS tracking helps in finding lost cattle. When selling cattle, deciding on breeding or feeding periods, or managing inventory – having all the data helps in extracting as much value as possible and in making the right business decisions.
Manual livestock management takes a lot of resources. With IoT systems (such as RFID) farmers can make many savings on manual labor.
Use technology to be a better livestock farm manager
Being a farmer is already tough in today’s conditions. Technology might seem like an enemy because it brings additional costs. However, with its powerful features, it’s actually an investment that pays dividends in the long run.
Preventing disease outbreaks, reducing time needed for animal identification, and providing timely care to your livestock thanks to available data, collected through RFID systems, might be reasons enough to at least try it out.
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