Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is currently spreading across numerous industries, including the livestock sector. Although one of the most common myths surrounding RFID technology is that it is only used for inventory, nowadays, the use of RFID for livestock management is increasingly becoming a norm. RFID has many benefits, such as increasing operational efficiency, reducing capital costs, providing access to real-time data, and eliminating human error.
As the livestock industry becomes more aware of the effectiveness of RFID in inventory management, the use of RFID tags in hatcheries, poultry farms, pigsties, slaughterhouses, and other livestock facilities is expected to continuously widen, with its global market size estimated to increase by over $880 million from 2022 to 2027. To better understand why this is so, read on as this article discusses how RFID is currently changing the livestock management industry.
How RFID in livestock management works
RFID is used in livestock management to identify and monitor individual animals, such as pigs, cows, chickens, goats, and more. An RFID tag placed in a sturdy plastic case is attached to the ear of each animal by using a handy applicator tool. A lot of RFID tags consist of two discs combined together through the ear of the animal. Every tagged animal is assigned a specific tracking number, and RFID readers identify it by its RFID tag.
Livestock farmers may use stationary or portable RFID readers to scan the tags. Stationery readers can be placed in gateways through which the animals walk or can be incorporated as a component of standard scales used for weighing the animals. The data that the RFID readers collect is then transmitted into the computer system of the livestock facility, which may be connected to cloud-based monitoring systems via the Internet.
The use of RFID in livestock management
During inventory, livestock farmers need to easily and quickly identify their animals. Traditionally, they have utilised metal ID tags attached to the ears of the animals for this purpose. However, these metal tags are slowly being replaced by RFID tags for inventory because the latter offers significantly improved functionality. The old metal tags are required to be visually read by farmers, which is an error-prone and time-consuming task.
On the other hand, RFID tags are more convenient and durable since they can be read electronically rather than visually. This speeds up the inventory process and eliminates human error from it. Furthermore, in using RFID tags, the animals are not required to stand completely still for the tags to be read, which opens up several options for reading them. With RFID, animals can be scanned during feeding, in the field, or wherever they happen to be.
Other benefits of RFID in livestock management
RFID enables livestock farmers to do more than identify every specific animal. RFID tags and their associated software can also store the entire history of an animal, such as its age, birthing time, offspring, weight, sex, and medical records. It allows veterinarians to scan the tag attached to an animal in order to acquire detailed information about its health.
This is part of an ongoing trend towards ‘smart farming,’ which uses Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to control every aspect of livestock management. By collecting the right data, farmers can improve the way they manage the animal’s feeding, milking, breeding, and other activities. Generally, farmers who adopt the RFID technology earn a competitive edge over those who continue to utilise conventional tracking methods.
With the enormous benefits of RFID, it is not surprising to see how the use of RFID tags in the livestock management industry is currently expanding. Not only does the use of RFID save time and labour, but it also provides more accurate tracking of livestock inventory and better means to authenticate animals. As the livestock sector continues to realise the advantage of RFID, it is reasonable for UHF RFID tag suppliers in Singapore to expect a surge in demand from the industry in the years to come.