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Which Active RFID System Is Best for Tracking Livestock in Real Time?

Posted By RFID Journal, 06.26.2013

Are there any solutions specifically designed for that application?

—Name withheld


There are a number of active RFID systems on the market that are designed specifically for livestock tracking. I'll discuss a few of them below:

Digital Angel, which sells passive animal tags, introduced an active tag in 2009 (see Digital Angel Announces Active Tags for Livestock).

TekVet introduced an active RFID cattle-tracking system in 2006. The solution includes health monitoring and a Web site that displays details about an individual animal's history and health condition (see TekVet-IBM Cattle Tracker Uses Active RFID Tags, Satellite Communication). However, I don't think we have written about anyone actually using it.

A startup called ZigBeef offers an active RFID system designed to allow cattle ranchers and their financial backers to track each head of cattle on a daily basis (see ZigBeef Offers Ranchers a Long-Distance Cattle Head Count).

Austrian wireless technology company MKW Electronics (MKWE) has tested an active RFID system at two European pig farms in an effort to gain real-time visibility into each animal. The real-time location system (RTLS) includes 2.4 GHz active RFID tags complying with the IEEE 802.15.4a standard, attached to the pigs' ears, as well as receivers installed on the walls of the pigs' covered premises, enabling farms to see where their animals are located and receive alerts if behavior has changed, which would signal a possible illness or injury. The readers and tags are being provided by Nanotron, with tag casings and system software provided by MKWE (see RTLS Lets Pigs Roam Free).

We have not reported on any farms using these systems, so it would be difficult to say which one is "best." Other solutions could be adapted for livestock tracking as well.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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