A new RFID-enabled livestock tracking system enables dairy farmers to keep track of their cows’ milk production in real time. The system, which uses glass-encapsulated RFID tags injected into the animals’ legs, deploys three elements to create a comprehensive tracking environment.
The first element, a gate reader, can be installed either on gates of a wide variety of dimensions. Or it can be directly embedded in the ground to create a sort of virtual gate. The elements on the gates monitor the cows as they pass through specific checkpoints.
The second element, a position reader, provides a more general image of the locations of herd members, especially their milking positions. The third element, a wireless ZigBee coordinator collects data from up to 75 position readers.
The entire system is tied together by a single, front-end application software system. All components of the system are encased in water and dust proof housings. The system is also accompanied by a built-in database for storage and retrieval of current and historical milking data.
The new system joins an increasing variety of RFID systems used on food and livestock that are offering proven paybacks. Pigs are tagged in Thailand and many other countries; in Spain, hams are tagged right through to the retail shelf. Fish are RFID tagged in the millions in Canada and elsewhere for conservation studies and control. In Australia, leading tomato grower Moraitis tags its cardboard trays. The U.S. military uses RFID interrogators in its forklifts which read pallet loads of food as they are lifted and placed.