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Farmers asked to consider electronic animal tags this year

To avoid future costs, cattle farmers should consider using NAIT-compliant electronic ear tags when they tag livestock this year, says Ian Corney, chairman of the National Animal Identification and Tracing project (NAIT).

The suggestion follows a recent move by the Animal Health Board to approve NAIT-compliant tags as secondary tags under its national identification programme to control bovine tuberculosis in cattle and deer.

“The great thing about the Animal Health Board move is farmers can avoid having to apply an additional ear tag to cattle to meet anticipated NAIT obligations,” says Mr Corney.

“We’re asking cattle farmers to consider the approved electronic tags for newly born animals that will be alive in July 2011 – when NAIT is planned to become a regulatory requirement,” he says.

"If the NAIT scheme is approved, RFID [radio frequency identification device] tags will become mandatory from 2011. Farmers could avoid the need to re-tag in 2011 if they start using the new technology this year.

“Assuming the scheme gets the go-ahead, early adoption of the new tags would save money for farmers. It is also a lot easier and safer to tag juvenile rather than fully grown animals. So there are workload and health and safety considerations.

“Given that NAIT hasn’t yet got final approval, farmers should also weigh-up the on-farm management uses of electronic ear tags before making purchasing decisions,” he says.

NAIT is intended to ensure speedier responses to biosecurity scares and to safeguard access to export markets by providing lifetime traceability of individual cattle and deer.

by S. C.
19 june 2009, World News > Oceania