GFM Network News


branding irons

Is there really any need to brand cattle anymore?

The reasons have largely disappeared

Reading Time: 4 minutes I hope everyone will seriously question if we need to brand — and if we do, how best to do it. I have heard several veterinarians and animal welfare scientists discuss if branding in its original form is even needed today. Lots has changed from the days of the wide-open range where cattle were mixed […] Read more

(Gloria Solano-Aguilar photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

PigTrace tag price going up

Hog producers will have to pay more for traceability in the near future. Canada’s PigTrace program will be raising ear tag prices as of Aug. 1. Prices will go up 20 cents for every small ear tag and 35 cents for every large ear tag, a release from the Manitoba Pork Council said. The Manitoba […] Read more


CCIA releases tag retention report

CCIA releases tag retention report

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency has released its final report on its tag retention project. The four-year study tracked 2,000 calves, 1,000 yearlings, and 700 cows with RFID ear tags. The overall tag retention rate for calves exceeded 96 per cent while tag retention for yearlings ranged from 98 to 100 per cent. However, the […] Read more

Bob Davies, project leader and quality manager with the SAIT Applied Research and Innovation Services department, at work in the school’s newly certified RFID test lab.

Alberta now home to world-class RFID tag testing lab

Lots can go wrong with plastic ear tags when it’s really cold and the new 
SAIT lab will help reduce the incidence of tag failure


Reading Time: 3 minutes Alberta is now home to an internationally certified laboratory for testing the radio frequency identification (RFID) tags used to track livestock across the value chain. The lab, located at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s (SAIT) Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) department in Calgary, is one of only three certified animal RFID testing labs […] Read more


Changes come to traceability database

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency has enhanced the Canadian Livestock Tracking System database. The agency has enabled system users to submit an Import event for any foreign country tag ID numbers. The supported format is 15 digits in length, starting with the country code. Since current regulations only permit the farm of origin to age […] Read more

Two newly tagged cattle walk under an archway equipped with ultra-high-frequency RFID readers that record their data during field testing with SAIT RADLab industry partner CL Ranches.

Taking cattle tag reading to the next level

Forget reading one tag at a time, this technology can track every member of a herd going down an alley at once

Reading Time: 3 minutes Cattle producers could save themselves a fair bit of time and money — if they’re willing to make the shift from standard low-frequency RFID tags to a new ultra-high-frequency alternative. “The typical button tag has been around for a long time and works very well, but it’s in a low-frequency spectrum and the read range […] Read more


All tags were applied according to manufacturers’ directions in the CCIA study, which did the trick for the first 18 months, 
but not so much after that.

Missing in action: Study finds ear tag retention a major problem

Calves have almost 100 per cent ear tag retention, but one in nine 
mature cows loses their tag — and it can be as high as one-third

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cow-calf producers were right all along — ear tag retention in mature cows sucks. “There is a lot of back and forth within the industry as to the effectiveness of these tags, and a lot of the cow-calf producers were identifying concerns about the longevity of the tags,” said Ross MacDonald, project manager for the […] Read more