The Australian meat and livestock industry is regarded as one of the efficient and cost effective in the world. By nature it is also conservative, pragmatic and cost sensitive.
At present, the identification of sheep using RFID technology is not yet mandatory, but may soon become necessary when a nominated RFID standard has been agreed upon by the NLIS and Sheep-Cooperative Research Centre.
LF 134.2 kHz technology is proven to be the effective technology for livestock identification. It is currently being used for cattle identification therefore making it the logical choice for sheep identification.
Other technologies are being considered but the performance and reliability is still questionable. LF 134.2 kHz RFID technology is the only system that has long term, proven performance in the field with large animals.
RFID identification for sheep from Electro-Com is seen to have many advantages over current line-of-sight tagging systems.
There are many disadvantages of current NLIS sheep identification techniques such as:
- Difficulties in visual sheep methods (requiring manual animal restraint)
- Build up of grime on the tag obscures barcodes
- Sheep management currently occurs on a flock to flock basis, the benefit and value of identifying individual sheep is not being taken advantage of
Sheep trials using the 134.2 kHz TI-RFID technology have shown the following advantages:
- Automatic capture of identification data with long range and high throughput capability
- Easier management of flock information- the reduction in the need for paperwork and manual input
- Electronic identification eliminates never-ending paperwork and allows farmers to have accurate livestock data on hand
- Allows for speedy information and statistics retrieval
- Allows for individual sheep management
- Accurate traceability for animal disease management
- Significant cost savings within the wool pipeline
- Ability to scan the RFID tags to utilise artificial insemination data, fleece weights, pregnancy testing, fibre testing and tracking of every sheep on a farm