Dom Post: Tagging could unleash farm innovation

Claire McEntee of the Dominion Post talks about a new, controversial tagging scheme for livestock which could eventually boost farm productivity and output.

The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in the ears of cattle and deer has been made mandatory by 2011.  The use of these, and electronic identification (EID) systems change could have multiple benefits for farmers in terms of having (and being able to act on) real-time data from each of their animals and automating farm management.

However, the use of EID has drawn criticism from Federated Farmers, who say the technology’s costs will outweigh its benefits.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Dairy farmers are best poised to profit because they can capture data daily and act on it immediately, whereas beef farmers might only handle stock once a week.

“A dairy farmer might notice a cow is limping and flag it in a system so it is automatically drafted into a separate pen and treated.

“Paul Gavegan, business development manager at agricultural software firm Agtrac, says EID systems let beef farmers collect and analyse information on growth rates, sire lines and live and carcass weights and make management decisions to get more “kilos out the gate”.”