RFID on-farm trialling continues

On-farm trials continue to explore the potential productivity gains for New Zealand farmers from the use of Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID technology for livestock tagging and data capture.

The technology, incorporating Electronic Product Code (EPC) data formats, enables greater accuracy of tag reading and individual animal identification, and also faster completion of tasks like loading stock onto trucks and measurement of weight gains.

The ongoing trials in Canterbury are a continuation of work undertaken by technical experts within the New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Group for several years. The technology, in contrast to systems with low frequency (LF), holds strong promise of capturing data from tagged animals when they are moving about in mobs or flocks, and doing so with greater speed and accuracy.

RFID specialist and Chief Executive of Christchurch-based Tracient Technologies Grant Pugh says the trials are aimed at quantifying the net gains to the farmer from use of UHF RFID when tailored to their particular needs, separate from the compliance focus of the LF-based National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.

“UHF tags have been shown to offer more opportunities for on-farm operational benefits and hence, for faster payback on tag investment. That is especially so in applications which involve fast moving mobs or herds of animals, and where rapid, accurate identification is particularly important,” he says. “In fact, recent work has resulted in a 99.7% read accuracy with cattle.”

Mr Pugh notes that dual UHF/LF chipsets encapsulated in the same tag are under consideration in context