Livestock Documentation System
By: Leah Brazell, Muriel Hayden, Lauren Gillespie
U S E R S TAT E M E N T
• The user of our product will be any livestock
producer(an operation that raises cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, horses), from the smallest to the largest producer.
P R O B L E M S TAT E M E N T • Livestock theft is hard to prevent without constant supervision • Branding is a good deterrent, but can keep an animal from being •
• • •
resold, however some breeds of sheep and goats cannot be branded. Tagging can be used with all forms of livestock, however it is not a reliable way to identify livestock because tags can be easily removed (i.e. fences or cut by thieves). (Tagging is currently the most prevalent form of livestock identification, however it is limited by weather and disease.) Producers do not have an effective way to keep past medical history or bloodlines on animals, in part because of fraudulence during transactions. Producers in sum don’t have an efficient and/or secure way to document records for livestock. There is no way to locate missing or stolen livestock.
• Research indicates the livestock theft is the most
significant rural crime. • Producers incur significant financial loss, and the loss of future breeding, herds, and bloodlines.
CURRENT LIVESTOCK THEFT PREVENTION TECHNIQUES •Regularly check your livestock, fields, and fences where the animals are grazing – daily if possible –
especially around sale days to ensure suspected losses are recognized and reported to the police as soon as possible.
•Keep all fields, shed, and stockyard gates closed and locked. Use locking posts to obstruct large
openings in yards.
•Go around your property and look at it through the eyes of a thief. Look for areas where thieves could
easily operate. Pay close attention to fields bordering public roads.
•Be visible on your property. Leave tire tracks and evidence that you are frequently checking your fields. •Be aware of strangers or unfamiliar vehicles in your area. Write down their license plate number and all
other relevant information and pass it on to your local police. Also notify your neighbors.
•Talk with your trusted neighbors, tell them when you are away from your property and where you can
be reached. •Locate livestock pens or loading ramps away from public roads or main entrances to your property. Keep them locked when not in use. Ensure loading ramps are stored out of sight when not in use. •Don’t leave livestock in holding pens adjacent to stockyards if the yards are not in sight of the
•If you have been a victim of a livestock theft, you may want to consider an alarm linked to your electric
fence that activates an alarm in your house if the fence has been cut or broken.
C U R R E N T L I V E S TO C K T H E F T PREVENTION TECHNIQUES Theft Prevention Tips
1. Display TSCRA member sign on gates and entrances. It is an excellent deterrent.
2. Lock gates.
3. Brand cattle and horses. Make sure the brand is recorded with the county clerk.
4. Put driver's license number on all saddles, tack and equipment.
5. Videotape horses and tack. Keep complete and accurate descriptions on file. Establish an organized, easy-to-find proof of ownership file to save valuable time in recovery process.
6. Count cattle regularly.
7. Don't establish a routine when feeding. Vary the times you feed.
8. Be cautious about who gets keys and combinations.
9. If possible, park trailers and equipment where they are out of view from the roadway. 10. Keep tack rooms and saddle compartments on trailers locked.
11. Don't feed in pens.
12. Participate in neighborhood Crime Watch programs.
13. Don't build pens close to a roadway.
14. Never leave keys in tractors or other equipment.
ISSUES TO OVERCOME • Government regulation • The integration of online identification software to ID
• Animals trials must be performed to determine what
works most effectively.
• Integrating breed programs, government agencies,
and producer’s current records easily
CURRENT COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE
• Livestock producers • Feed lots • Large producers with a need to keep track of lots of
• Older rancher who are not as adept with technology
USER INTERVIEWS Interview 1: Roy Johnston (Large scale cattle producer)
Interview 2: Mary Lou Finnigan (In the show goat business)
• How do you document your animals?
•How do you document your animals?
“Currently, we have a manual documenting system. Our cattle wear plain plastic tags and we have to go through and manually count them.” •
Do you ever use a rumen bolus? “No.”
• Are they (the livestock) hard to keep track of? Has theft ever been an
*She doesn’t have a lot of goats to keep track of so she documents them manually. •Do you ever use a rumen bolus?
*No. •Are they (the livestock) hard to keep of? Has theft ever been an issue?
issue? “I have a large number of cattle so sometimes it’s very tedious to go through and keep track of them. Theft is a common issue that worries me greatly. I have only had a small amount of cattle stolen but it’s a problem that’s always caused a lot of issues for security reasons.” • Does your system work well? What are the problems you have? (problems
both overall and just with i.e. tagging) “My current system can cause a few problems but overall, works fine. I have had issues before with faulty tags.” • Would you be interested in new tracking technology?
“Yes, I would. Anything that makes the job a little easier would be nice.” • If so, what would be helpful criteria?
“More secure tags and an easier system to document the cattle.”
*No, not particularly. She makes sure to keep her goats in a secure environment, but the issue is still a concern for her. •Does your system work well? What are the problems you have?
*Yes, her system works fine. Her only problem/complaint is that it’s sometimes annoying due to the work involved in tagging. •Would you be interested in new tracking technology?
*No, she is content with her current technology. It would however be helpful for her to have a GPS option with her tags (especially while on the road for shows).
USER NEEDS • A way to effectively monitor and track livestock in case
• An easy, integrated system that allows medical history,
bloodlines, and ownership records to be kept with the animal. (Software will not be provided however the final product must be compatible)
• A non-removable method that keeps identification
POSSIBLE TECHNOLOGY • Microchip/GPS (cost effective/size is a problem) • Interface database (something that can correspond with • • • • • •
microchip) Handheld device/Bluetooth that can track chip or tag Universally compatible software Applicator for tag/chip Note that when designing final product one should take into account the size a tag can hold versus that of a chip. RFID Tag RFID Reader
OPTIONS FOR ID • Tags offer more space, but are easy to cut off and
• A Sub-dermal microchip is harder to remove and less
visible. The drawbacks include difficult application, size limitation, and infection risk.
• Rumen bolus (reusable) • Insecticide ear tags (involves integration)
P L A S T I C TA G
These tags are identical to those currently used, except they would have a small microchip akin to those seen in credit cards in them. The pros would be that they integrate with old systems quite easily, but are still easy to remove by thieves.
F D X E I D TA G
This small, round plastic ear tag, similar to the large plastic tags used today, would have a microchip embedded within the tag. They are fairly difficult to remove or pull off, the plastic is very strong. They require special pliers to insert though, due to the increased rigidity of the tag.
We would change the current rumen bolus, which aids in digestion, and insert a microchip and GPS that would permanently rest in the cow’s stomach. This chip however is not reusable.
The sub-dermal microchip would be inserted into the animal’s skin but would have to be relatively small. This procedure requires both special needles and proper training for insertion and can leave the animal at risk to infection.
Similar to the ankle bracelet, the collar would have a microchip implanted inside, but would need to be made of a more durable material to avoid easy cutting i.e. an RFID chip could be sewn into the ID patch.
The ankle bracelet would be made of a thick material that is hard to cut and would be locked around the animal’s ankle. Inside the bracelet would be a microchip and GPS so that it is not exposed to the outside.
The oral chip would be a small or mid sized microchip that would be in a metal bracket that would then be placed in or on a tooth in the animal’s mouth. (Magnetized branding tattoos may also be an option)
U P P E R L I P TAT T O O
An upper lip tattoo using conductive ink to store information and a microchip to receive the information would be tattooed onto the upper lip of the animal. It would be well concealed, but may cause irritation to the gums.
SMALL EAR MICROCHIP
The small ear microchip would be a thin microchip that we would adhere to the inner ear. The size of the chip is variable but it must be able to fit comfortably in the ear. (The chip would most likely be adhered to skin in the inner ear to avoid excessive exposure to the elements.)
M E TA L E A R TA G S
TA I L TAT T O O
This method would incorporate a current method of tagging in goats, where ink tattoos are made on the folds of the tail. We could use conductive ink to contain the RFID information about the animal and have a tiny transceiver on the end of the letter row to relay the information encoded in the ink. Drawbacks are cannot be used in sheep if docked. (Information could be easily transferred during sales.)
E A R R I N G E A R TA G
The earring would be like a stud, which would make it harder to remove. It would have a microchip in the stud part of the earring. It would be very easy to install and not very noticeable.
CHEMICAL IMBALANCE - COLORING
Through the addition of specific chemicals into the animal’s body, an animal could be identified by its specific chemical imbalance or color. (Downside is this may require a blood test which could be expensive.)
C O N TA C T S
The contact would have a microchip embedded into it. It would be easy to install and very difficult for thieves to remove. It may irritate the eye though and inhibit sight. (Also, like normal contacts the eye would still need to breathe and it could be easily lost.)
A cylindrical microchip would be placed inside a hollow nose ring.
TESTING/ USER FEEDBACK
! Cole Spenck (Southdown seed stock ewe producer): “I don’t like the earring as much because when I’m out checking the pastures, I like having a tag I can read. I’m intrigued by how it would be harder to pull the earring out on a fence because I’ve had to replace… *pause* Gosh 8 tags just this year. I like the sticky in the ear better though. I know they definitely couldn’t pull it and it could be compatible with normal visible tags.” Lilly Dixon (small 4-H wool sheep shower): “I only have 5 sheep, and I keep them all in a small barn, so keeping track of animals over long distances isn’t a problem for me. I also know all of my animals personally, so I really don’t need a system that is so expensive and fancy with the RFID. I do like how the earring isn’t a clip tag. 3 of my CVM lambs ears got infected because their metal lamb tags were too small and their ears got all scrunched up and gross.” Eric Farris (industrial Duroc pig farmer): “Well, I’ve got almost 200 sows in my barn, and am averaging, ‘bout 9 piglets a sow, so that’s a good 2000 animals to keep track of. Can’t put them plastic ID tag on, they get chewed off by other sows. I’m liking this earring y’all got cause they couldn’t chew the darn things off and the user interface would allow me to keep track of my sow’s production, ‘stead of keepin’ it all in my moleskin like I do now. I’m also terrible with finances an’ am real terrible at keeping up with market an’ feed prices, you’d think this could help with all that?“
SOLUTION SYNOPSIS •
Initially, we thought the adhesive tag with an RFID reader would be our best option. However, during our trials, we found that the adhesive was not strong enough to withstand the elements i.e. Sweat, rain, dust, wear and tear.
This led us to our second functioning solution, which was a modification of the adhesive tag. We wanted some type of piercing in the ear that would be small and not too visible so we took an earring, took off the jewel and used the casing to protect the folded up RFID tag. We also water-proofed the earring with water-proof glue.
We were hoping this would create a simple tag solution that had RFID capabilities and could withstand the elements.
Hypothetically, users could apply this to a large amount of livestock or a herd of show animals. For future consumer use, our tag would be capable to work with any RFID reader or RFID antenna. It would also be compatible with multiple types of software (which could possibly include GPS capabilities in the future.)