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Province Extends Deadline For RFID Tags To Mar. 1

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Alberta’s cattle producers will have until individual cattle are 10 months old to apply radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to their animals, starting March 1.

The provincial government said in late December that it would repeal its Traceability Livestock Identification Regulation and replace it with a new Traceability Cattle Identification Regulation taking effect March 1, 2010. The new rules will also expand the reporting requirements for move-in information to include some smaller feedlots.

Under the new regulations, cattle producers get 10 months, up from eight months, from an animal’s birth date to apply its industry-approved RFID tag and register the animal’s birth date.

Producers using actual birth dates also have the option of using a cattle identifier (tattoo or production dangle tag) by three months of age and until applying an RFID tag at 10 months of age or when the animal leaves the farm, whichever comes first. RFID tags have until now been required at three months of age.

Also under the new rules, feedlots feeding 1,000 or more head per year will be required to report move-in information to the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA). Previously, only feedlots feeding 5,000 or more head were required to do so.

This regulation applies only to feedlots, not cow-calf operations, the province said.

The new rules will also clarify the provisions for retagging cattle that have lost their ear tags. If an animal is retagged, on-farm records must be either created or updated to reflect the new approved tag number, the date applied and, if available, the number of the previously applied tag. The new regulation also specifies the processes for cattle aged under and over 18 months.

Livestock traceability regulations have been in effect since Jan. 1, 2009. Cattle born after that date are required to be age-verified under the province’s Animal Health Act.

In Alberta, all livestock producers and anyone who owns or keeps animals (other than household pets) or who operates sites where animals commingle, such as feedlots, must obtain a premises ID number from the provincial agriculture department.

“These changes were made at the request of the cattle industry to ensure that all cattle are off-pasture in time to meet the requirement,” the province said in a release.

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