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How Can RFID Be Used to Track Livestock?
Are there many examples of the technology being employed for this application?
Tracking livestock with RFID is one of the oldest uses of the technology. Typically, animals have a plastic tag inserted through their ear, or a subcutaneous tag inserted under their hide—or, in the case of cows, they swallow a bolus tag that remains in their stomach. Each RFID transponder's ID number is then assigned to a specific animal.
Sometimes, RFID readers are set up at the gates through which animals pass, so that farmers can know for certain that each animal has returned from the field to the barn. Interrogators can also be set up at milking stations, to monitor the amount of milk produced by each cow.
One of the most important uses of RFID in animal husbandry is in treating animals. Before RFID was available, farmers often misidentified animals, giving doubles hormone doses—or none at all—to some of the cows. RFID allows each animal to be identified with certainty, and each medical treatment can thus be linked to a particular animal.
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In addition, there will be a preconference at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition—being held on Apr. 8-10, in Orlando, Fla.—titled "RFID in the Food Chain." This seminar is designed to educate growers, distributors and producers of food and food products regarding the benefits of using RFID to monitor the location and temperature of food as it moves through the supply chain. You might want to attend this preconference, so you can learn about the current state of RFID technology in the area of livestock-tracking.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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