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March 2013 - Tracient completes extensive trials of UHF animal ear tags.

Tracient Technologies, in conjunction with the New Zealand RFID Pathfinder group, has recently completed a year long test of over 400 UHF animalear tags from four manufacturers to assess the viability of the technology for use on farms and as part of animal traceability systems. Tests conducted with sheep and deer showed that high levels of read accuracy could be achieved with animals exhibiting "mob" behaviour such as moving at speed in groups along trafting races and transport loading and unloading corridors.  Read the technical report.


February 2013 - Supply chain traceability of animals and animal products using UHF animal ear tag systems.

Gary Hartley, of the New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Group, explains why RFID and related technologies are valuable tools for identification and traceability purposes in the food production and distribution sectors. Hartley's research focuses on using EPC UHF RFID standards (particularly the EPCIS standard) to identify, capture and share information in the New Zealand venison industry. His research team utilized the technology to investigate the movements of live deer from a farm and a venison processing plant, as well as the exporting of cartons filled with finished venison cuts by ocean freight to Europe, and their delivery to a retail location in Hamburg, Germany. Read the white paper .

15 June 2012 - Trial Of Commercial Uhf Animal Tags Show Promise

Extended trials of commercially available UHF animal ear tags on farms in New Zealand are showing promise, with high levels of read accuracy when tags are fitted to mob animals such as sheep and deer.

Tracient has been conducting tests of new commercial tags since December 2011 with the express purpose of showing viability of ultra-high frequency (UHF) technology over traditional low frequency (LF) tags. Low frequency tags suffer from poor read range and difficulty with reliably reading multiple electronic tag identities (EID) on animals as they move at speed in mobs. Typical tag read range for LF systems requires the reader to be less than 1m from the animal compared to UHF which is capable of several metres.

In 2008 Tracient worked with the New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Organisation to show the potential of UHF technology with prototype tags and now three international tag manufacturers have put forward button shaped UHF tags for testing in advance of commercial release.
Similar trials have been underway in Scotland and Denmark for the last two years on cattle and pigs, respectively, using some of the same style of tags. Tests there have shown equally promising results.  Tracient and Pathfinder are collaborating with ScotsEID in conjunction with Strathclyde University and BR-Technik in Denmark to share valuable insights on the performance of the new tags.

In New Zealand, Pathfinder is concentrating on sheep and deer in order to show the on-farm benefits of UHF technology and more cost effective solutions than LF equipment, mainly by leveraging the ability to read dozens of tags per second at UHF.

Tracient intends to show from long term trials that the new tags exhibit superior performance to traditional LF tags including  longer read ranges, higher accuracy and lower cost of ownership for farmers.

After four months of testing read reliability is hovering between 98 and 100% on mobs of sheep running at sheep running at speed in a race. “Such accuracy would previously have not been possible with LF systems unless the sheep were read one at a time in single file” says Grant Pugh of Tracient. Pugh says that 100% tag readability has been frequently achieved but Tracient is continuing to optimise reader and antenna configurations to deliver high read reliability at lowest cost. Long term trials are needed to build up a sufficient body of evidence in favour of the technology.

The trials will continue throughout  2012.

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