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RFID Herd Management

Herd Management With RFID

Using RFID ear tags for Herd Management is a way to individually identify animals and digitally manage that information. Having these records available digitally helps keep track of an individual animal from birth to death, as well as any significant events in between.  

Managing these animals via RFID has become more popular due to a USDA mandate requiring all livestock be tagged with RFID ear tags by 2023. While the mandate’s specifics are still being worked out, RFID ear tagging is still moving forward with farms across the United States. Currently, the United States is one of the few developed countries that does not already mandate the usage of RFID ear tags, and a large portion of cattle farmers are hoping this will change.

Learn more about the background of livestock tracking, official government programs and mandates associated with livestock management, and much more in our free guide below - USDA Mandates RFID Livestock Tracking.

RFID Ear Tag Example

Smartrac Cattle Ear RFID Tag

SMARTRAC Cattle Ear Tags are designed to meet rugged environmental conditions in the livestock industry. Equipped with the Impinj Monza R6-P IC chip, these tags provide reliable usage and offer superior read range through UHF RFID technology.

How will Digital Data, Collected by RFID, Help me?

One way that RFID ear tagging could be a major improvement over the current numerical ear tags is that more data would be available on an individual animal. The increased amount of data would have a variety of benefits:

  • Track the spread of disease
  • Track genetic lineage
  • Document Vaccines & Dosages
  • Document Buy/Sell Transactions
  • Document Birth Dates & Locations

What Does an RFID Herd Management Application Look Like?

An RFID Herd Management application can be as simple or complex as you make it, depending on your specifications and restrictions. It is just as simple to tag each individual livestock with an RFID ear tag as it is a visual ID ear tag. Read the tag with a handheld or wearable RFID reader and associate the new RFID ear tag’s EPC number with information such as:

  • Visual Markings/Identifiers
  • Birth Date
  • Birth Location/Farm ID
  • Breeder Information
  • Visual ID Number (If available)
  • Mother & Father’s ID Numbers/EPC Numbers
  • Genetic Abnormalities
  • Gestation Data
  • Tattoos/Herd IDs
  • Frame Score (height & weight estimates)
  • Body Condition (weight & body)
  • Sex
  • Udder Scores (Udder quality)
  • Offspring
  • Diseases (past & present)
  • Veterinarian Records
  • All Vaccines

After all important information is entered into a database tied to RFID software (or a software program directly), the tag is ready to be inserted into the animal’s ear as usual. After the tag has been placed, important data can be entered as it changes via a computer, mobile computer or an RFID handheld reader. RFID readers like sleds and wearables can be used to take livestock inventory, or document important data when paired with a smart tablet or device.

For additional applications that can benefit farmers with RFID cattle ear tags - checkout our Guide - USDA Mandates RFID Livestock Tracking in the “RFID Capabilities” portion.

Want to Learn More about the USDA Mandate?

Checkout our easy-to-use Fact Sheet, filled with important dates and information straight from the USDA website.


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