Electronic tag costs can outweigh benefits - research
23rd Mar 09, 10:39am
On a purely economic basis, electronic identification tags in sheep and cattle can cost more than they return, research has shown reports The ODT. AbacusBio consultant Simon Glennie assessed the costs and returns of electronic identification (EID) in various classes of stock and the management gains that resulted. He found there were gains when used with trading cattle but costs when used in ewes and breeding cows. The trial at Traquair Station near Outram took no account of the wider issue of securing market access through animal tracking being promoted through the National Animal Identification and Traceability (Nait) project. Tagging 3000 ewes cost $1.90 a stock unit. Using information from the tags to cull poor-performing ewes was calculated at $1.83 a stock unit. Mr Glennie said at a field day last week the tags provided more accurate information on ewes which easily lost weight or condition or repeatedly only reared single lambs. Cheaper tags could be used but there were concerns about their efficiency. The trial tagged 200 cows at a cost of 85c a stock unit. The return on the investment from the information gained was 59c, again by accurately gathering performance information. Mr Glennie said he modelled the purchase of 1000 trading steers, bought in lots of 50 from 20 vendors. Each was tagged and he calculated that by using the production information to identify the 10% of vendors who supplied the poorest-performing steers, he could increase income by $11.40 a steer.