RFID for More Accurate Livestock Tracking

RFID LivestockRanchers will soon be able to track their animals in real time using RFID. A new, battery-powered animal identification tag known as the r.Tag, can be read from up to 100 feet, allowing a more efficient, accurate way of tracking livestock.

The r.Tag is a passive RFID tag operating at 134.2 kHz, and can be set to transmit an identification number at a regular interval. The tags each hold up to 256 bytes of data, and are built into an ear-tag. An r.Tag reader can interrogate 310 tags within range at a time. In addition, an external antenna can be mounted and linked to the r.Tag reader through coaxial cable, allowing users accuracy within a few feet.

With use of the r.Tags, ranchers hope to gain more information on the activities of their livestock, which could signal when things go wrong. For example, if ranchers notice that one particular cow isn’t going to get food or water as of often as the other cows, they will be able to pinpoint its location and determine if it is sick, allowing for a quick and easy quarantine, if needed.

Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not require the use of RFID livestock tracking, they do recommend the technology as a part of the National Animal Identification System, a voluntary tracking system.