RFID for Animal Identification in Rural India and Asia Pacific

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by Shashikant Patil

Animal identification verification and tracking done for a variety of reasons including verification of ownership, biosecurity control, identification and tracking for research, tracking health of animals, as well as agricultural purposes.

There are many historical methods and procedures for tracking animals individual identification of animals and birds by means of body markings has been practiced for over 4000 years. The first official identification systems are documented as far back as the 18th century. In India, where most of the farmers have cattle and animals which are actually support systems for the agricultural point of view, extensive usage of RFID tagging to animals can help a lot to maintain the database and collection of data. RFID tags are very accurate, precise, faster and very secure and can be easily implanted also inside or outside for the entire life of the animal without any harm.

Conventional identification/marking procedures vary from one country to another. However, the broad practices and unusual nature of identification of animals remains the same, and identification remains widely prevalent to this day in all parts of the world – albeit with incomplete coverage and/or deficient governance standards in most countries.

There are a variety of methods to identify are leg rings, tags, microchip (parrots), telemetry (falconry birds), collar, earmarking, ear tags (electronic and non-electronic), Semi-permanent paint, tattoo, microchip implants, lip tattoo, anklets, Rumen bolus (electronic), cowbell. Cowbell is very famous in India and widely used for identification and tracking of animals especially bullocks buffaloes and cows for identification and security purposes. The most common methods for laboratory mice are earmarking (notching or punching), ear tags (nickel, copper or scannable 2D barcode tags), microchip implants, hair dye, toe clipping, manual tattoos (tail, foot pad or ears), automated tail tattoos.

In India, cheaper RFID technology is encouraging more insurers to offer policies on cattle. In most of the states and regions Insurance Companies have launched and implemented the effectiveness of RFID for cattle insurance. The price of the RFID tags is coming down in the last five to six years and hence the cost works out to be similar to conventional tags, which typically need to be replaced every year if they break or fall off.

RFID technology helps us to store the information of each and every animal with breeding, feeding and yield data. Milking and egg laying database and monitoring can be easily recorded and maintained, enabling classification, individual preventive measures or maintaining group health improvement. RFID tagging helps us to improve agro-management through increased efficiencies, controlled and monitored feed as well as reduced feed and labor costs, enhanced outcomes and exponentially improved group health of animals.

RFID is a reliable, efficient and cost-effective method of tracking and identifying cattle animals and cows. It is being increasingly deployed by more and more government and non government agencies as a transformational technology for the modern agricultural world.

Animal ID tag (Animal identification tags): As the technology is advancing the revolutionary changes in the missions of successive life which has been able to withstand the unique identity and trace of the animal. The Animal ID Tag which is used to track by the device and locates the current location of the animal. This enable to system to search its actually resided. These tags are fixed to the animals that are to be tracked and traced and help us to verify as well as maintain the database efficiently and wisely. In India one has to get certification for RFID usage on Animal Ear Tags. The high grade material used in manufacturing these Animal Identification Tags gives them a long durability and service life. These tags are tamper-proof, i.e., any attempt to remove the tag from the animal results in the circuit breaking. This ensures unique identification to each animal and helps insurance companies uniquely trace each animal. These tags conform to the international standards for animal identification. Clients can avail finest quality Animal Identification Tags in customized forms as per their requirements and at industry leading prices.

The specification of the animal id tag is :
Category: Animal Ear Tag
Frequency range: 134.2 KHz. (As per ICAR guidelines)
Substrates: TPU (Other materials on request)
Operating Temp: 20°C + 100°C
Personalization: Serial number laser engraving
Application: Sheep, cattle, horse, birds Protection class: IP 67
Bio Glass Tag
Frequency range: 134.2 KHz and 125 KHz
Substrates: 3M Glass+ Adhesive
Temperature: -20°C + 65°C
Application: Animal identification, Access control, inventory control, waste management
Protection class: IP 68

RFID tag systems provide the electronics for the effective monitoring, tracking and verification of any size or type of animal where identification is more optimally located within a band, tag or ring secured externally to the subject. Fully automated production processes ensure dependable attachment of the IC to the antenna for finished product reliability.

India ranks first in livestock population and milk production in the world. The Government of India is implementing various schemes to improve the genetic potentiality of these animals but the results are not very encouraging. One of the important constraints is non-availability of performance data of individual animal at village level. Experts all over the world stressed the need for performance recording of animals as the core requirement for productivity enhancement. Data showed that the countries that have started recording performance data have doubled the productivity of animals in 25 years. Record keeping on pedigree, production, reproduction, feed, health and costs is essential for sound decision-making in selection of animals with greater genetic producing ability to develop a better future herd. Some organised farms in private sector in India have adopted RFID based animal identification and farm automation management system, e.g., Chitale Dairy in Pune, Lakshya Dairy in Haryana and Kopordem Farm at Valpoi in Sattari Taluk in North Goa. Sangamner Milk Union, Maharashtra has decided to attach RFID tags to 100,000 animals in near future to begin tracking and to ensure accuracy of the data related to each animal.

RFID technology for unique identification of animals is easy to use and best among other comparable technologies. Identification and recording of animals using radio frequency identification [RFID] chips has a lot of merit for reducing malpractices related to implementation of government programs in the animal husbandry sector and insurance and also in recording the breed, yield and behavior of animals. However, it warrants further research for its wider application especially for the small holders keeping one or two animals. The necessity for proof of ownership and identification helps keepers to maintain records of origin, identity and destination of animals. It will help to keep up-to-date records of all animal births, deaths, movements, treatment, vaccination, castration, pregnancy, insemination, accident and other information with dates. By collecting Secure, authentic and real-time data, one can get correct statistical analysis and on time information which helps to take decision making. It will also help in to provide proper and timely treatment to the cattle with health related case history and improving management, sales of breeding animals and genetic improvement. RFID tagging will help to get constructed data will help to achieve goal for better breed, more productivity which helps for better production.

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