By Jim Dickrell, editor, Dairy Today
Some 12% to 15% of cattle exhibited here at World Dairy Expo now carry radio frequency identification (RFID) electronic button tags, making check in faster, more accurate and easier for both cattle exhibitors and show personnel checking cattle in.
Robert Fourdraine, COO of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC), helps with the check-in on a volunteer basis. Using wand technology, it’s easy to get a read of the button tags, he says. “In some cases, we can just reach through the slots in the trailers and don’t even have to unload the cattle,” he says. “It’s a lot easier than reading metal ear tags or comparing sketches.”
Cattle from Canada and Michigan, where electronic ID is required due to national or state TB-surveillance policy, carry the button tags. Some of the cattle coming from Minnesota also have the buttons, and a smattering of cattle from other states as well. Once exhibitors see how easy and accurate it is to check cattle in, he believes more will do so over time.
In fact, the State Fair and some 25 county fairs in Wisconsin have worked with WLIC to ID fair animals (steers, swine and meat lambs) and show the benefits of the technology to fair participants and producers. To date, some 59,617 active livestock premises have been registered in Wisconsin with more than 200,000 cattle (dairy and beef) are now electronically identified.