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RFID report card

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May 25, 2012 | 23:02 1 OK, so we are totally diligent with taking twine from bales, not having things hanging around that can grab tags, and we do apply them properly.

So why, when we processed 97 cows today, did we have to re-install 27 tags??? ARGHHHHH.............

That's a 72% retention rate. In a zero tolerance world.

This meant two, count them two trips to town to buy more tags, losing over an hour of processing time. And $160.00 spent because it took more than one pack of 25 tags. Those 23 extra tags will be sitting around for a while as well. It also involved risking life and limb 27 times more than it should have. To say nothing of how long it's going to take to cross reference them.

One of those cows had an ear that looked like a screen door, it had so many holes in it.

Once again... ARGHHHH.....

If the government was paying for these tags, the program would likely be dropped. This must add up to millions of dollars a year. Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 05:35 2 Kato , I have often wondered if some high up government beaucrat doesn't own a significant number of shares in the tagging industry. I am sick and tried of finding button tags that are suppose to best answer since sliced bread laying out in the pasture and cattles ears with tear marks that look like you cut it with a knife. Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 07:27 3 recent meeting at Saskatoon Livestock Sales put on by Sask AG & Food had CCIA & CFIA presentations. This was April 26 after the open heifer sale. The crowd at the sale just left--tired of hearing anything more about this system.

I was asked to attend. About 40 producers stayed.

CCIA Rep----Pleaded to producers that retention is a huge problem but cattlemen were not taking time to fill out the 3-4 page sheet on their experience of RFID tag retention.

It was a very vocal crowd. This issue was dropped when I handed the CCIA rep the sheet of paper that was withheld from all producers that operating temp for these tags is 0 C to 50 C. Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 07:59 4 For someone not in favour of the system Kato - why
do you bother cross referencing the replacement
tags? there has been zero enforcement of this part of
the program to my knowledge.
Taking two trips to town because you needed to buy
two bags of tags is hardly the Governments fault is it? Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 08:17 5 grassfarmer, is the concept of being conscientious foreign to you?

And further to the cross-referencing issue, perhaps you don't understand that it is a necessity for those of us who use matched CCIA/dangle tags?

Do you have difficulty grasping the general idea that the inherent flaws in the program cause great inconvenience, not to mention hazards?

If you continue to read here you will be amazed how we can contribute to your education! Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 12:20 6 Sadie just a pint of clarafication are you stating that this damn tags are useless at -10,-20 -30 -40 . I have never heard this before. Interesting.... Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 18:35 7 I didn't say I was not in favour of the system. What I'm not in favour of is being the one to pay for all these wasted tags. It's one thing to ask us to ID these cattle. But what I don't like is having to ID them over and over and over again. And to have to pay for it over and over and over again.

This traceability is supposed to be intended to be a food safety issue that protects the whole country. Therefore IMHO, the whole country should ante up and put in their share. By making it mandatory, producers have lost any marketing advantage they could have had from traceability anyway.

These tags should cost us zero. We provide the labour, and risk injury with every re-tag. They should at least provide the tag. What we spent yesterday is only a portion of what we paid this week for tags. There's also over three hundred dollars gone on calf tags.

Also, I'm not in favour of a zero tolerance policy when it seems impossible to have a zero loss rate on the tags. There is no need to make a criminal out of a producer when all they have is substandard tags to work with. Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 20:03 8 kato, your post just made me wonder why we are still bearing the entire cost of the trace-back system. It's a point that deserves further investigation and action.

Why not - the hay isn't quit ready to cut yet . . . Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 22:30 9 Burnt, I'm conscientious on the stuff that's important
- not on the useless crap, life is too short. I've never
cross referenced a mature animal that had lost it's tag
because there is really no need to as evidenced by the
enforcement. I've never read or recorded the CCIA
numbers on older cows or bought in cows - no need
to so that gets you out of cross referencing as well.
We never back registered any of our older cows with
ccia as there was never a market incentive to.
Younger animals since the OTM rules came in - yes.

We are not paying the "entire cost of the trace back
system" We are only sticking tags on them. How much
do you think it costs to run the CCIA database, wages
etc? How much more does it cost to actually trace
something back if there is a disease issue - bring in
CFIA officials, have them go through manifests, on
farm records etc etc. We are not paying the entire
cost - far from it. Reply With Quote
May 26, 2012 | 23:47 10 I'm suspecting you have pasture at home, so animals don't leave the premises until they are sold? Therefore, you likely don't tag animals until they are sold? Do you tag your calves with ccia tags at birth? If not, then I'm thinking your tag budget and ours are completely different.

Our cattle all ride in trailers to pasture, even our own pastures. That means they all need a tag at all times. Which means we need to keep up with the replacement of the tags. Which means it gets expensive.

As for cross referencing. If you don't cross reference the tags on an age verified animal, it's no longer age verified. Most of our herd is age verified, with the exception of a few bred cows that were bought in. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 04:50 11 Cost of the RFID eartag.

Where does .60 cents of each purchase price of the RFID tag go? The last I heard it went to CCIA system for wages, for data base.

In Alberta don't you get re-imbursed for you CCIA eartags?

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba at least that is not the case. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 05:32 12 Kato--

Question regarding your original post.

When you noticed 27 RFID tags missing in your cow-herd did you look at the other cows that had the RFID tags remaining. (I imagine the heads are swinging around on those girls also). Did you see the backs of any of those remaining RFID eartags.

In our cow-herd we did see that backs on some starting to break down in pieces but the RFID tag was still present. Those will be gone also in a short time. No backs so the BLOB falls out the front of the ear and there goes the RFID 15 digit data number. Trailers, pastures and countryside.

My photobucket account is not working this morning to post those appropriate pictures. Hauling pairs out today before the next forecasted rain in our area.

I have posted this before: THE RFID EARTAG SAGA CONTINUES AND WILL GO DOWN AS A FIASCO WORSE THAN THE LONG GUN REGISTRY. THE SERIAL NUMBERS AT LEAST HAD A CHANCE TO STAY ON THE REGISTERED GUNS. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 05:43 13 <a href="http://s1138.photobucket.com/albums/n523/kphaber/?action=view&current=004.jpg" target="_blank"></a>

Kato---as a producer do you remove these and replace at this time or wait till that cow shows up later in the chute and do it when the RFID eartag is missing.

section 179---Illegilly remove or cause removal of an eartag from an animal or carcass---this is a serious offence.

I am asking this for a reason. As a management tool it is easier to cross-reference the RFID eartag and deregister that tag that will be lost with the data base at this time and apply a new RFID eartag that is fresh and has a chance of lasting in that cows ear for the next 18 months.

Our experience challanging CFIA at a Tribunal hearing and witnessing other cattlemen along their journey. Those present understood from CFIA that they can apply a fine under the ANIMAL HEALTH ACT up to two years after the incidence. CFIA personnel are cowards. They do not fine you on site but send a beautiful registered letter to you by mail. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 07:32 14 There were two that were just hanging on by the edges of what was left of a broken back. They were both Allflex setaside tags, if you can believe that. They are the last tags of that kind on the farm. Out of fifty. We couldn't believe they lasted this long. We left one on, because the cow has a bit of a crooked horn that her ear hides behind. The other one is now wearing two tags, because we didn't trust her to come home with the broken one.

The other 25 were just plain gone. And no ears were ripped. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 07:41 15 Kato the cross referencing is simple. If we have a
yearling to sell that has lost a tag, just slap on a new
tag, come into the house, register the new number
with the original date of birth and you are good to go.
You don't "lose the age verification" because it's still
age verified. I haven't had to retag a young animal
we've sold since the fall of 2010. Cows get checked in
the alley on the way to town when we cull them -
missing tag, stick one on - end of story.
We get refunded the cost of tags up to the average #
of our calf crop the last 3 years. So in theory if you
replace any in either young cattle or cows you'd need
to buy the extras. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 10:01 16 But if a tag is lost, is it not supposed to be retired out of the system? I don't think we're supposed to just re-age verify them.

In Manitoba we get refunded zip. zero. nada. That's my main problem with the whole thing. If we were under Alberta's system however, we would have still bought over two hundred dollars worth of tags last year. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 11:35 17 As long as there is a half-assed system with no
enforcement I'm not going the extra mile Kato. When
you buy your tags they know who has them - if a calf
dies with a tag on before you age verify them there is
no logical need to retire the tag - doesn't matter to
anyone if the tag is sitting in my barn unused or
inside a coyote - it's either registered on the system
or it's not, if it's not it's nobodies business but mine.

It's an Alberta advantage not paying for calf tags for
sure, but hardly worth you selling up and moving
here with the land values as they are.
I checked back and see we sold 18 cull cows last year,
there would be maybe 9 to tag on the way out. Some
pre 2000 cows, some barcode tags to add an EID to
and a few lost tags. I'll say it again - very rarely do we
lose an EID tag that I've applied to a cow since they
started with them - from my perspective the accounts
of tag losses seem exaggerated. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 12:36 18 GRASSFARMER---WAKEUP AND LOOK AROUND

THE TAG LOSSES ARE ACCURATE. REPORTS HAVE COME IN NOW FROM ACROSS CANADA.

THEY ARE A SHORT TERM TAG ONLY SO LET US USE THEM THAT WAY AT THE MOST. RFID IN ANIMAL WHEN SELL ie CALF IN FALL, COW GOING TO SLAUGHTER THAT IS ALL THE SYSTEM IS TURNING OUT TO BE. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 14:09 19 That sounds sensible to me. We should tag them when we sell them. Period.

This business of having to re-tag them every spring when they go to pasture is not making sense. They are not changing hands. They are not mixing with other cattle. They are coming home again in the fall. We know where they are. They can be located if it was necessary. How much tracking is needed? Does the government really need to know which of our cows are in which pasture?

As far as I'm concerned traceability means being able to follow the chain of commerce, not tracking where our cows are on our own farm. What purpose does it serve?

Expensive noseyness, IMHO. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 20:13 20 SADIE, You can't claim to speak for all producers any
more than I can, you have one opinion and I have
another. For all the "Chicken Little" claims you and
others have made the system we have now is
working, thousands upon thousands of cattle are
moving around the country daily and weekly with rfid
tags on them. Have been for years now. Thousands
upon thousands of calves have been age verified and
that's working too. I just came in ten minutes ago and
the sky was still up there. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 21:03 21 History of the RFID eartag in other species. Retention became a huge problem there as well.

1)The Ostrich Industry---RFID tags were tried and soon aborted. The other ostrich would peck the Shiny or colored button off the other ones ear.

2)The elk Industry-tried the RFID tag---the partners would chew off the button off the others ear.

History of the male back button/female plastic ALLFLEX style eartag.

First saw and sold these tags/ allflex style with dangle tag in the 1970s. There were ripped ears, break off at the necks of the tags. Some would stay in some of the cows for a while longer than others.

1980---Along came the allflex system fly tags. Short term tag only. Male backs. Some would last the entire season any many producers would clean up the ears of animals by removing tags in the fall. By the time the second year came around the backs of the male buttons (Plastic) have broken away and many tags gone from the animal. The two clinics that I was owner and operator of sold many many tags. Many demos from tags suppliers on where these tags break down. Cold weather in winter and ultra violet light in the summer was the major contributor on plastic breakdown.

Now the famous RFID Buttons That were never tested in Canadian conditions. There is the same plastic, Metal washer and weather conditions extreme and outside the environmental conditions set for these tags.

I ask you these questions?

1)Could retention of RFID tags be better in Australia where they graze close to 11 months of the year?

2)Could this be why the americans did not want to go with animal ID using this sort of tagging system.

3)Why not use these RFID tag systems in the equine species? Tagging deep in the ear of a horse is a very sensitive area of that animal and there could be a upcry of being inhumane in the equine species.

4)At the Western Canadian Association of BOvine Practicioners Dr. Temple Grandin did speak about the RFID eartag applied deep in the bovine's and bison's ear as well. The cartilage is thicker and it is very painful also to those animals. First a plug of cartilage is removed. A tug or ear tear on those ears is very painful. Memory recall in these animals is very strong. Re-tagging adult bovine (cow or bulls) is causing animal behavior problems gathering and processing in chutes now. Operators arms, limbs faces are being injured.

Constant re-tagging to follow the current laws is setting up concern to some regarding animal welfare issues.

Grassfarmer---I have problem solved situations in large animal practice since my veterinary school days of the mid 70s. Continuing ed courses with veterinarians or producers I actively participate in. There is a problem with this system the way it is. I will remain a cow-calf producer for a few years yet and I will continue to raise a voice or post comments regarding my concern.

Final question Kato. What is your report card status on the RFID eartag as it stands now. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 23:00 22 Not much of an ear on an ostrich SADIE - have you
ever seen someone try to hang a tag on an ostrich
ear? Saw hundreds of them in South Africa around
1995 and the "tags" seemed to be implanted into the
necks somehow, visible from the outside but not
hanging loose like an ear tag. Maybe you want to
rethink the pulling them off each others ears story lol. Reply With Quote
May 27, 2012 | 23:12 23 Spring 2012 27 retags makes 72% retention in cows. That's on one day of processing for pasture. Spring 2011 we re-tagged 18 cows on pasture day, and during last winter, we retagged 15 cows and 2 feeders. Twelve month total was 60 tags.

This is the first year in at least five that we haven't had to retag every bull on the place. However, they are all only two years old, so I expect that to change.

I think it's getting worse every year because the existing tags are getting older and more frail. I don't think they're designed to live as long as a good cow does. Reply With Quote
May 28, 2012 | 06:07 24 Goodmorning Grassfarmer

You are correct "not much of an ear on an Ostrich.

RFID report card is the topic of this thread.

This was exactly what came out of a round-table discussion last winter with a group of veterinarians including myself and CFIA veterinarians. The topic was RFID individual animal identification. The discussion came from others looking at the Ostrich Industry---Which is now non- existant in Canada. RFID tags put wherever for ID did not stay in the animal for the previous mentioned reasons.

Retention of the RFID markers in all species is becoming a bigger problem and now is being discussed more often.

This was a "brainstorming session" of RFID animal ID where we are now. What can we learn from useage in other species.

Spring Meeting April 26 in Saskatoon CCIA REP made his first comment. The number one concern he is receiving is the problem with RFID tag retention. Only one year earlier CCIA REPS wouldn't even talk about retention. They immediately told the producer that it was all in the application. Now the topic is retention.

Now it is mid 2012. Are we any closer in achieving individual animal ID than we were back in early 2000s?

How can we have traceability until permanent individual animal ID is first accomplished? Reply With Quote
May 29, 2012 | 22:00 25 Today's article in the Regina Leader Post. Saskatchewan's new ag minister m<a href="http://s1138.photobucket.com/albums/n523/kphaber/?action=view&current=img397.jpg" target="_blank"></a>akes announcement. Reply With Quote
May 30, 2012 | 08:27 26 The "five province" study mentioned in the posted article is only one of many research projects underway that hope to improve the tag retention issue. The five province study is being done by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in collaboration with the Western Beef Development Centre. They selected several herds in each province and tagged several types of animals with all types of approved tags. They'll monitor the retention and take note of the different management practices at each farm (i.e.: twine removal, metal vs wood corrals, type of headgate, etc).

PAMI (Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute) in Humboldt, SK is also working on a project to help improve tag retention (funded by SK Ministry of Ag). PAMI will measure tag variability (pin length, pull apart strength, insertion force) for all approved tags at a variety of operating temperatures (-40 C to 30 C). Based on those results and a review of the design of various tags, a new tag design or placement might be defined. The new design, placement, or tagging protocols will be tested by tagging calves (10 per "treatment") and monitoring for one full year (starting in Spring 2013).

PAMI will ensure all information gained from the study is public and will present the results at various trade shows and field days.

So the research community was slow on the update, but hopefully we can help improve tag retention and reduce the frustration (and cost) associated with this voluntary program. Reply With Quote
May 30, 2012 | 10:05 27 But lets not pretend the tags we are using now are
untested because they aren't. There was an approval
process for the different makes of tag based on
retention rates before RFID tags were introduced
initially. Reply With Quote
May 30, 2012 | 10:18 28 Grassfarmer, you are absolutely correct.

According to the CCIA, before a tag is approved for use it must pass a test and achieve a 99% retention rate in 1,500 animals for at least 90 days. The CCIA also established standards for the insertion force required to clamp the tag as well as a standard stem break force. Audits are conducted to determine if tags continue to work as well as they did at the time they were approved. If a tag fails the audit, the manufacturer of the tag must remedy the deficiency or the tag will no longer be approved for use.

While CCIA tests tag retention over a wide range of high and low temperatures, the material in some tags seem too light to stand up to sun, temperature, and typical rangeland conditions. During the retention trials, tags are applied under controlled conditions, which can result in inflated retention rates. Finally, there does not appear to be a standard for stem length or the thickness of the back, both of which can affect placement and retention.

The PAMI study hopes to assess retention rates using "real world" scenarios to determine if modifying application protocols or tag design can improve retention rates. We will also be monitoring tag retention for MORE than 90 days (which is more realistic for actual use). Reply With Quote
May 30, 2012 | 14:50 29 90 days? That explains a lot. Feedlot tags would pass that test. Likely ribbons on their tails would too. Reply With Quote
May 31, 2012 | 05:40 30 PAMI

Thankyou for coming about this thread and offering your input.

My concern from the beginning was the retention rate in the adult bovine animal not the young calf.

The anatomy and proceedure of application in a fresh calf's ear on tag application is much different than the anatomy and proceedure in placement of an adult cow and bulls ear. Thickness of cartilage alone, retraint especially on re-tagging and animals having previous experience.

At any of the upcoming research has there been utilization of animal behavior personnel in the upcoming studies? Specifically as one looks at re-tagging process in cows and bulls?

Dr. Joe Stookey is on WCVM staff and close to the research farm at Turmunde (If that is one of your working sites).

My 48 months of gathered research on tagging and retagging with RFID eartags have revealed best useage of the current tag is a "SHORT-TERM" tag.

As a cow-calf producer how do you think some of us feel towards CCIA organization now and going forward when cow-calf producers struggled with using this "short-term" tag in ones cow-herd.

Cows in herds that had to go into inter-mingling pastures for summer breeding saw the biggest impact of "retention loss" and re-tagging. Defending oneself against animal health laws like section 176 came into play.

Has the CCIA got any credability left with some grass roots cow-calf producers? Reply With Quote