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Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:48 pm
by LCP
I'd like to get some opinions on electronic ID for cattle. Not as it pertains to a national ID system, but just on a ranch-level perspective.

For those who use it, what's the purpose for doing so? Marketing or herd management? What do you like? What do you dislike? What would you change about the system you are using?

For those who don't use it, why? Is it cost, hassle factor, don't see value in it? What would change your mind? What would you need to get out of an electronic ID system in order for you to try it?

I'm not trying to sell anything...yet...but I have some ideas...

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:09 pm
by Big Muddy rancher
We have used RFID tags for national ID for years now here in Canada. Just this spring we put a scale under the squeeze and got a wand reader. We read some of the steers going to grass and read them all today sorting for loads to ship. The strs that were read at turn out it would tell us ADG. WE weren't real happy we the scale today. Not sure of accuracy but the cattle really shrunk from ranch to sale barn 140 miles away. The barn to 1.5% and in total they shrunk 9%. it was a fairly hot day.

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:47 am
by Soapweed
Big Muddy rancher wrote:We have used RFID tags for national ID for years now here in Canada. Just this spring we put a scale under the squeeze and got a wand reader. We read some of the steers going to grass and read them all today sorting for loads to ship. The strs that were read at turn out it would tell us ADG. WE weren't real happy we the scale today. Not sure of accuracy but the cattle really shrunk from ranch to sale barn 140 miles away. The barn to 1.5% and in total they shrunk 9%. it was a fairly hot day.


Sometimes it's best not to know. :cowboy:

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:12 am
by mrj
Soapweed wrote:
Big Muddy rancher wrote:We have used RFID tags for national ID for years now here in Canada. Just this spring we put a scale under the squeeze and got a wand reader. We read some of the steers going to grass and read them all today sorting for loads to ship. The strs that were read at turn out it would tell us ADG. WE weren't real happy we the scale today. Not sure of accuracy but the cattle really shrunk from ranch to sale barn 140 miles away. The barn to 1.5% and in total they shrunk 9%. it was a fairly hot day.


Sometimes it's best not to know. :cowboy:



Best? Or just makes us happier? But it does bite a lot to have questions about what the malfunctions is, faulty scale, or cattle not gaining as well as thought. When a person makes the effort to improve systems, it sure doesn't make sense not to have a trustworthy system. And figuring out where the problems are can be pretty aggravating, whatever the 'machinery or system' involved. Good luck with getting answers, and finding WHERE the problem is, with your system, or the sale barn!

mrj

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:24 am
by Faster horses
A friend and cattle order buyer told us once when he was buying calves, "You gotta think about the shrink."

5% shrink from Eastern Montana to Iowa is what they figure. Sometimes it is more than that, unfortunately. Of course they shrink some from the ranch when hauled to the scale. That's why many are getting their own scales to weigh on, and some portable scales to weigh on work too and they are available most places. Of course then you have to take a % pencil shrink. Usually 2%.

We had a scale under our chute which we checked the weight regularly as best we could (having several stand on it) and
we found invariably that the cows we sent to town weighed 100 lbs more than they did at the scale. Didn't matter how far
the haul, it was always 100# less than what they weighed at home. :(

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:13 pm
by WB
I have never considered it. Not sure what I would do with it. With the current drought conditions I am not looking for any additional expenses.

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:36 pm
by Silver
We have had a gov't inspected scale for many years, and there are a great many learnings to be had from it. One thing we learned from comparing home weights to different sale barns is that most shrink happens in the first 100 miles.
One year we culled the mothers of all the calves who weighed in the bottom 10% , if memory serves we used a 200 day adjusted weight. That sure made a difference the following year.
We have weighed our yearling heifers when turned out grass and over the years have come to think that for best effect it seems that heifers that weigh about 2/3 of mature weight is best practice.
Anyway, the scale is a valuable tool and lots can be learned from it imho

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:03 pm
by WB
My reference was to the topic thread of electronic ID. Yes a scale can be a valuable tool when used correctly.

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:54 am
by George
I do chip my dogs and I feel it is a great tool if I have to identify an animal - - - proof of ID for rabies shots in case of need - - - identification of an animal that is stolen.

I have the reader that is rated the top of the line and reads several different brands of chips but it needs to be within about 6” or less of the chip.

If there was a reader that would work from a distance that would allow an animal to just move slowly thru an alley at a reasonable cost and a requirement for the livestock facilities to use I would be for it as we still have to many stolen cattle in this area.

I hate thieves and I feel they will continue as right now if you are in the sale barn and see one of your animals go thru it is a hassle proving it is yours - - - it took several months for me to get money for 16 head of cattle ( I only got paid for 15 ) that were branded and still had my ear tags in. Even with my records showing where every animal came from, what day it hit the feed lot, what day they came up missing.

Finally the lawyer for the man who sold them reached an agreement with the prosecutor and they paid me for the 15 head he sold if I would drop all charges - - - I still think he took 16 and probably butchered one. Electronic ID might have helped but I’m not sure, I felt we had him dead to rights at the time and he still got away with no jail time.

About a year later he went to jail for theft of corn from sealed government bins, and he has since passed away but I still feel the system let me down.

Bottom line - - - I am provisionally in favor of anything practical that will allow tracking of where an animal came from for both safety and theft issues.

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:53 am
by rancherfred
We started using bang's tag EIDs a couple of years ago. At that time I also tagged all of my cows with Allflex half duplex tags. I primarily use them, at the present time, to speed weighing as they go through the chute. I also have used them for IDing cows when they lose their VID tag. All of our cows are tattooed with their permanent ID, but sometimes they can fade, or be hard to read if I don't do a good job applying the tattoo.

I would really like to see the power of the readers go up in conjunction with the cost coming down. If the cost wasn't so high I would like to have a panel reader to hang on the alley going up to the loading chute. There are lots of ideas we have kicked around about having the ability to read tags as they come into water for various reasons, but the problem always comes back to the fact that the cost of the readers are so high that many of the ideas are stillborn.

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:14 am
by jodywy
But it nice to glass that bull a mile away across the fence, canyon,river and see that backward B bar on it's left rib or not..!

Re: Electronic cattle ID

Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:20 am
by Big Muddy rancher
jodywy wrote:But it nice to glass that bull a mile away across the fence, canyon,river and see that backward B bar on it's left rib or not..!


We still brand our cattle but since we have to use RFID tags we might as well get some value for our selves.