Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic energy to automatically identify objects, usually without a line of sight or contact. It is an automatic identification method that relies on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders.
One of the industries that have benefited from this technology is livestock/cattle tracking. This article highlights how RFID technology for cattle tracking works.
How RFID for Cattle Tracking Works
This technology involves a wireless identification method. You can use it to identify animals as they pass through a checkpoint. Animals will be tagged with an RFID tag, which can be read by special equipment known as an RFID reader. Here are common ways that you can use the technology in livestock management:
- Tag Animals with a Tag
The simplest version of using RFID on cattle is tagging them with a tag. The best tags for the job are known as Low Frequency (LF) passive tags. They have low chances of interference and work optimally even in moist and metallic environments. The tags are powered by electromagnetic waves released by an RFID reader. The chip responds by sending back its unique signal so that the reader can identify it.
The advantages of this technique are that they are inexpensive and don’t require batteries. As such, they are easy to maintain as they do not require periodical replacement.
- Tracking Cattle With Active Tags
A more advanced version of this technology is encoding the RFID tags on your animals. Unlike passive tracking, this technology uses high frequency or ultra-high frequency tags that have an independent energy source, and it continuously sends signals.
This is a more precise technique, and it is used by farmers who want a real-time location system (RTLS) tracking. Most of them use 2.4 GHz active tags that comply with standards, such as IEEE 802. 15. 4a.
Additionally, these tags are compatible with GPS so you can track your cattle’s location on your handheld device. However, the downside of this technology is that it needs batteries to work and can be quite expensive.
Components of RFID System for Cattle Tracking
An RFID system for cattle tracking comprises a transponder, transceiver, data accumulator, and processing software.
The transponder is the animal’s identification tag. It can be an ear tattoo, a plastic medallion with an embedded chip, or a subdermal implant for livestock. It stores all the details about a specific animal.
The transceiver is the reader’s part of the RFID system. The reader is responsible for gathering signals sent from the tags and outputting them to a computer via USB or RS232 port. It is an antenna that emits electromagnetic waves.
- Data Accumulator
A data accumulator allows you to store data. It has a large memory to manage all the details necessary for identification. The system acquires the data from RFID tags and transfers it to the processing software for analysis.
- Processing Software
This software analyzes and manages the data. It helps in determining the number of times an animal has passed through a specific point or plotting the path of each animal.
RFID System for Cattle Tracking in Action
Using RFID technology for cattle tracking is beneficial to several industries such as farming and herding animals. Farmers and ranchers use the information gathered from this system to determine how healthy or where their animals are at any point in time. It allows them to monitor the growth of their cattle and even control the circumstances of giving birth.
RFID technology also enables farmers to gather data about the health of their animals, which makes it easier for them to treat their livestock.
It can help them track the whereabouts of their livestock, especially if they escape their pens. The real-time location system offers an accurate way to follow up on escaped or stolen animals because it records their location throughout its movements which are displayed in real-time through GPS technology.
With this method, there is no need for you to monitor the movement of every single one of your herd or flock. You merely need a handheld device to receive a signal from an RFID animal tag and determine its location. This software is available for purchase by ranchers, hunters, and farmers who raise animals on their properties.
Benefits of RFID Technology for Cattle Tracking
There are several benefits of using RFID technology for cattle tracking. They include:
- Reduced Labor Costs
Using RFID technology for cows, pigs, or other livestock significantly reduces labor costs because there is no need to man different parts of the farm. This system will keep track of the location of your cattle around your ranch so you can monitor them better.
- Reduction in Animal Stress
Using RFID technology for cattle tracking reduces animal stress. This is because it allows the farmer to optimize labor and increase the accuracy of data collection. It also enables them to monitor the general health of their animals, which makes it easier for them to detect early symptoms of illness or injury.
- Protection Against Theft
RFID technology is an effective way to prevent theft in farms. This system enables the farmer to monitor any movement in their farm, which will make it easier for them to detect an abnormal change in location. If a farmer detect thieves, they can immediately notify authorities and act accordingly
- Easy Data Transfer
Using RFID technology for cattle tracking is an easy way to collect data. Cattle do not need to be tagged again because the tags remain on them at all times. All you have to do is gather information using a handheld device and transfer it to your computer or laptop through a USB or RS232 port for analysis.
- Enhanced Record Keeping
RFID animal tags for cattle can help ranchers and farmers easily monitor the movement of their cows, pigs, and other livestock. This system offers an accurate way to keep track of the general well-being of your animals. It allows you to treat any injured or sick animals, which reduces mortality rates.
Additionally, the system helps in record keeping. This helps in determining the dates for vaccinations, birth dates, and calving, among others.