This page explains Electronic Identification (EID) and how it can be used with cattle or sheep.

How EID works

Electronic Identification (EID) is the use of a microchip, or electronic transponder, embedded in a tag, bolus or implant to identify a farm animal. EID in animals is based on low frequency radio waves or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). A reader sends out a radio signal which is picked up by the microchip. The chip sends back the unique identity number. The reader transfers the unique number to a computer which uses it to store whatever information is necessary about the animal being identified

RFID applications are becoming more common in all areas of industry where products need to be identified and traced. Examples include warehouses where pallets of products are automatically identified, moved and stacked using RFID.

Benefits of using EID

Electronically reading animal identities can deliver many benefits for everyone handling animals. Many farmers, particularly on pig and dairy units, have been using EID for many years. Farm management practices can be greatly improved through the use of EID systems.

Benefits of EID include:

  • less paper work or transcription required thus improving ease, speed and accuracy of data collection
  • no direct animal contact is necessary to achieve accurate identification thus improving speed and safety of handling
  • direct transfer to PC, reducing time spent transcribing collected data
  • PC based management software allows powerful analysis of data to provide management information on which to base decisions relating to performance
  • improved information flow allows more objective and timely decisions thus improving performance

Fixed EID Reader Panels

A fixed panel reader is a reader that is permanently installed allowing animals to be identified automatically as they pass by. Many dairy parlours will use them to identify cows as they walk into the parlour or in each feed stall. Once the identity of the animal is known, data such as volume of milk or weight can be collected, or animals can be individually fed. Fixed Panel readers come in many different shapes and sizes to suit a variety of locations and uses and are capable of reading tags up to approximately 100cm.


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