25
Aug
2021

The Advantages to Tagging Your Cows

Identifying your cattle is a must for all types of records systems, from inventory to performance. While hot iron brands have long-been used to identify who owns particular cattle, cow ear tags are a great alternative for livestock management that not only make it possible to identify the animals, but for keeping accurate records on each one. Your records might include things like age, gender, weight, and breeding information. Calves can also be tagged to link them to their mother in birth sequence and/or numbered pairs. Heifers can get a new number to avoid repetition once they’ve matured and have been integrated into the herd.

Ear tags are one of the most popular methods of any numbering system for providing unique identification and larger types of tags are easy to read when you’re in the pasture and just as easy to apply. They come in a variety of styles, including metal, one- or two-piece plastic. They also vary in size, shape, color, and how they’re attached to the cow’s ear. A tool is used to pierce the ear, such as a knife or pliers and a portion of the tag is passed through it. 

Tagging your cows has many advantages, with the cost easily paying for itself over time. 

Color Coding to Save Time and Effort

By using various colored tags, it can help farmers and ranchers save time and effort by providing information quickly. For example, they can be helpful for identifying an animal’s sex in the distance, by using different colored tags for each gender. That can be very useful when you’re sorting them in a pen or as they pass through a chute. The tags can also be used to indicate their lineage for breeding purposes, or to indicate which animals are ill. 

Prevent Damage to the Industry and Harming Public Health

Electronic tags, or EID tags are a great option for tracking cattle electronically, something that’s used worldwide as it brings many benefits, including monitoring the health of the cattle. The tags can show what animals came from a herd that was exposed to or infected by a disease. It is rare for herds to be sold together, they’re usually split up and dispersed, but EID can be an important tool for tracking animals that need to be destroyed to prevent disease from spreading. 

All of the data that’s collected can be critical for public health too, helping to ensure only healthy meat is sold in supermarkets. If a recall is necessary, health officials can be alerted to which regions of the country are affected. USDA officials said in a 2020 press release reported by the Wisconsin State Farmer that RFID devices will provide the cattle industry and states with the best chance to quickly contain the spread of a disease before they can do substantial damage to the industry.

Tracking Cattle Electronically

Tagging in general is really a must for proper livestock management but by using RFID tags it’s likely to save you time and money over the long run while also ensuring accuracy. It’s far easier to be able to scan the tag with a reader, which can minimize human error that’s possible when having to write down each number manually. It can even be done when cattle are moving, such as being put into a trailer. 

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