Stephen Cadogan: Latest eartag collects useful animal data

An eartag that be used for official animal identification, real-time location, and health monitoring purposes was one of the four gold medal innovation winners at last week’s EuroTier, the world’s leading trade fair for animal production.

Just as the Irish market opens up for multiple eartag suppliers, the winning Eartag LIFE product made by Smartbow GmbH Weibern, in Austria, has expanded the boundaries for tag capabilities.

The low-weight eartag — although it includes a sensor with an energy supply which lasts for several years — can collect useful data throughout an animal’s life.

Behaviour monitoring, general animal husbandry tasks, and quality assurance, are made easier, and individual animals can be located electronically in animal housing and on pastures.

An even more sophisticated calf monitoring system was another gold medal winner at EuroTier, in Hannover, Germany.

The Smart Calf System made by Förster-Technik Engen, in Germany, detects the changes in drinking patterns and reduced fluid intake which are usually the first signs of disease in calves, often occurring before any other visually identifiable symptoms.

Stephen Cadogan: Latest eartag collects useful animal data

It combines a smart drink station, smart neckband and smart water station, to monitor milk and water drinking activity.

Like the Eartag LIFE product product, it also enables electronic location of calves.

EuroTier is one of the most prominent platforms for introduction of innovations in livestock technology, which vie for the prestigious EuroTier Innovation Awards at the show every two years.

The German Agricultural Society selected four gold winners and 21 silver winners from this year’s 251 entries.

Gold winner number three is the PiggyCheck application developed by the Meier-Brakenberg company.

It uses a 3D camera to determine the weight and grading of fattening pigs, without contact, while pigs remain in their pens.

Stephen Cadogan: Latest eartag collects useful animal data

This substantially facilitates the process of grading pigs prior to slaughter. The software can be run on conventional smartphones, or tablets with 3D cameras.

Images can be taken from above, the side or diagonally, and information on an animal’s weight is displayed as soon as pictures have been taken. The software then provides a marketing suggestion in the form of a traffic light display.

Slaughter data can be reconciled with the live body data collected earlier, to allow users draw additional conclusions regarding genetics and feeding regimes.

PiggyCheck is available for a monthly subscription fee that can be cancelled at any time. Investment costs are limited to purchasing the necessary hardware.

Innovation gold winner number four at EuroTier is the Wicky silage cover developed by Wasserbauer GmbH.

It is designed to make uncovering silos for removing silage, and covering them again, easier and safer.

Silage sheeting is automatically retracted, with features included such as radio remote control for activating and controlling the battery-operated drive.

Conventional silage sheeting can be used with the Wicky system.


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