How EID recording can help you to improve your flock performance
These pages provide an introduction to using EID recording on your farm.
Information is also available in this booklet, Introducing EID Recording – A practical guide to getting started with EID recording for your flock.
Electronically reading animal identities (EID) offers many benefits for anyone involved in the handling of sheep, especially on farms where management practices can be greatly improved through the use of EID systems.
How EID works.
EID uses a microchip, or electronic transponder, embedded in a tag, bolus or implant to identify a farm animal.
EID in animals is based on low frequency radio waves or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). A reader sends out a radio signal which is picked up by the microchip. The chip sends back the animal’s unique identity number. The reader then transfers the unique number to a computer which uses it to store whatever information is necessary about the identified animal.
EID recording does require an initial investment in on-farm technology. In very basic situations this means purchasing equipment that will read the EID tags, and having access to a computer with some simple farm management software installed. This software will then manage the information collected.
Most farms now have access to a computer. The type of EID equipment available ranges from very simple stick readers to hand held readers and data loggers, electronic weigh scales and automatic shedding systems. The equipment you choose depends on your own farming situation and the type of flock information you require - See Training part 2.
To gain maximum benefits, EID recording would ideally be used in conjunction with stock that has estimated breeding values, so that the performance of each animal in the flock can be assessed.
In any flock, EID can help increase returns through, for example the improved and more efficient management and selection of lambs. Investment in appropriate equipment and software can assist farmers to select and assess which lambs perform best under different management systems.
Checking all lambs for target weights can also be made easier, thereby enabling the selection of lambs which fit processors specification. Lamb performance can also be related back to ewes, to assist with breeding programs and identifying the most productive stock.
EID can also provide significant benefits in managing flock health plans, providing an easy to access health history for individual sheep. This can include:
- Recording routine tasks such as drenching and vaccinating against individual sheep or groups as they are undertaken.
- Recording and managing withdrawal periods for any medication administered, with recording treatment for individual sheep providing an easy to access health history.
- Using records of, and reasons for treatment to identify and start early resolution of problems and highlighting any persistent or recurring health issues within individual sheep.
EID offers lots of opportunities. The key to using it effectively is not making it too complicated and using the technology to the level that you can see a benefit and return from, beyond what is required for simple identification purposes.
Next on About EID - The benefits of EID recording