Cattle identification has both visual and management benefits. By identifying your cattle individually with cattle ear tags, you (and others) can more easily determine which cow is which. In addition, being able to track an animal’s history and performance helps you determine which ones are performing well.
The continuous need for improvement in management and production practices is contributing to the increasingly popular use of electronic ID/RFID cattle tags in the cattle industry. EID tags are small “button-like” tags that are placed in the ear. Each EID tag has a unique 15-digit number printed on it, and the number can also be read by scanning the tag with an EID reader. These tags are designed to last for the life of the animal.
Using Electronic ID tags has many advantages:
- It offers another form of identification for each animal. Sometimes visual tags get lost, become snagged on a fence, etc, whereas EID tags are small and are designed for high retention rates.
- An animal can more quickly be identified in the chute (by scanning the tag with a reader) rather than needing to have the animal be completely still to read a visual tag or tattoo number.
- Scanning EID tags, instead of manually writing down an ear tag number, offers tremendous time-saving benefits while minimizing errors. As cattle are being worked or loaded into a trailer, their EID tag can be scanned while they are on the move.
Matched pair tags are a set of tags consisting of an EID tag and a visual tag. Both the EID and visual tag have the same EID number printed on them. This is especially helpful in situations where a herd management software, such as the CattleMax software is being used. You are able to lookup animals by their visual ID or electronic ID, and also helps be able to easily download an animal’s EID number by matching their visual number.
EID tag manufacturers, such as Allflex, offer the ability to download an electronic list of EIDs with your order. CattleMax is able to download these EID lists directly into the software, where the records are automatically linked (if the EID list includes visual IDs) or you choose the animal record to link for each EID entry. Purchasing “matched pair sets” from an EID vendor eliminates the need for cattle to be handled just to record which cattle receive what EID tag.
Electronic ID Readers / RFID Readers
Leading cattle electronic ID readers include a memory capability that allows for storing of scanned electronic ID values that can later be downloaded onto a computer. This feature is highly recommended, as it reduces the need for additional equipment or computer at the pens or working chute just to see the EID number.
After working cattle, you can download the list of EIDs that were scanned right into CattleMax, and even apply events such as medical treatments or update pasture locations for the cattle that were worked.
Allflex RS420 HD Bluetooth EID Reader
Allflex Livestock Pocket Reader
Purchase any Allflex EID Reader from The Cattle Tags Store and receive up to $100 credit for CattleMax – just email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your CattleMax account address.
Integrating Electronic ID into your existing herd
If your cattle already have existing visual ear tags and you want to integrate electronic identification, the biggest challenge can be linking the electronic id numbers to the existing visual tags. Fortunately, this can be one of two ways
Importing a spreadsheet
Your tag manufacturer probably offers a way of downloading a spreadsheet (sometimes called a CSV file) of the electronic id numbers from your order. Simply download this file and open it in your spreadsheet software. While working cattle, simply enter the visual tag in the column next to the electronic id number. Once done, you can import this file right into CattleMax.
Using The Cattle Tags App
Fortunately, there is an easier way for those with an iPhone or iPad. We have worked with Allflex to develop The Cattle Tags App, an app designed for the Allflex RS420 and Allflex LPR electronic id readers. With this app, you can simply scan the tag with your reader and enter the corresponding visual ear tag. After applying your electronic id tags, simply have the app generate a CSV file that you can import into CattleMax following the steps above.
Where to buy Cattle Tags and EID / RFID Readers
CattleMax is an authorized reseller for Allflex EID readers and tags. For more information including ordering, visit us online at The Cattle Tags Store.