Using Electronic Identification Devices (EID) to record pregnancy status and other related information

What is an EID?

“An electronic identification device (eID) contains a microchip which is applied to individual sheep or goats, generally in the form of an ear tag. The data contained within each eID can be scanned and recorded into the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database. This is the Australian system for identifying and tracing cattle, sheep and goats for disease control, food safety and market access” 1


Accurate livestock identification is essential to running any profitable enterprise. Through the implementation of EID tags we can better maintain information to identify trends and patterns to make informed decisions on flock management.

What are the main benefits to EID tags?

  1. Traceability for biosecurity purposes
  2. More efficient use of time
  3. Accurate data collection
  4. Better individual animal insights
  5. Accurate breeding selection

By collecting pregnancy data on livestock, we can better determine effective management processes and opportunities for selection. While scanning livestock, we need to ensure we have the required EID equipment on hand and ready to go. For more accurate data collection, at the time of scanning we can identify if stock have scanned in as dry, singles or multiples, and record electronically at the time of imaging within the chosen EID system. Rather than having raddles that wear off in the weather, we can ensure the data is entered in an accurate and timely manner.

While scanning livestock we can draft off accordingly to their pregnancy status, to assist producers in understanding the nutritional requirements specific to each mob. With the advancements in technology, we can now see producers scanning livestock through an EID system, integrated with an auto drafter to sort accordingly with accurate data collection methods. By using EID tags to record pregnancy status and other related information we can better assess the best and worst performers in any given flock. Through ensuring this data is maintained and used efficiently to make decisions, we can determine the most suitable bloodlines coming into a sale period.

Through having reliable data we are able to work towards a suitable breeding objective for the enterprise. With EID implementation becoming mandatory, we are seeing growers learn and adopt this process, with great benefits. With the transition seeming daunting for some, we can see a smooth transition starting with key stock such as hogget ewes and lambs coming through. Whilst it may feel like a timely and costly experience to implement an EID system, some more benefits are; trading partners having confidence in data, increased market access with supported data, Increased productivity which leads to increased profitability, Informed on farm monitoring for pregnancy, greater access for data on health performance (weights etc) and decreasing the need to physically handle stock as frequently.

Author: Brooke Watts creating choice through knowledge

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