Ultra-high-frequency (UHF) EID offers a much wider read range, and can capture every ID number from groups moving past a “read panel.” But, you have to figure out how to dial down the read range to scan that one single tag out of a bunch. In addition, Blasi says there are still unknowns surrounding high-frequency, including how environment affects technology performance.

“There could be a lot of interesting applications,” Blasi says. Adding other technologies to the mix, he mentions active tags — those that contain a battery — that can transmit information to a receiver constantly. Or, what about using a mobile phone and cloud technology rather than a computer to capture information transmitted from tags to readers?

Really, the potential uses are limited only by the imagination. “Think of tying ID technology to other technology like drones, and you could conceive of how the banking industry might be interested to monitor client inventory. Or how you could verify stocking rates to regulatory agencies,” Blasi says.

Arguably, adopters of EID technology so far have had to modify their existing systems to fit the technology, rather than plugging new technology into an existing system.

“There’s been some tweaking of the technology, but very little has changed,” Blasi says. “Without a definitive direction from government or the industry, a lot of ID technology companies have been in a holding pattern.”

 

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So far, there has been insufficient incentive for producers to modify how they do business in the name of ID, besides investing in the necessary equipment. But some producers certainly uncovered the incentive long ago. Between production efficiencies gained through individual animal management and increased marketing options, these folks say it more than pays for the equipment and the process. Of course, some of these same folks will almost apologize to visitors for noticing they spent money to put EID tags in their cows.

There’s no regulatory incentive, either. Compliance with the mandatory Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program that began in March can be achieved with a metal clip tag. 

Yet, the need for information tied to individual animal ID continues to grow. As the latest NBQA report points out, “The knowledge level of consumers is increasing, and they want to know more about how and where the animals were raised. Animal well-being is an attribute identified by retailers, foodservice and packers who want to ensure the animals have been raised humanely before harvest.”

The report goes on to say that, overall, the origin of cattle, how they were raised, and food safety are the categories “with significant odds of being identified by companies as ‘non-negotiable requirements’ prior to purchasing. Additionally, retailers mean what they say when they call a specific quality category a non-negotiable requirement, and are not influenced by a discounted price.” 

 

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