FAQ

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 What is the recommended tagging procedure?
The tagging procedure is very important both for the welfare of the animal and for tag retention. We send a leaflet out with every applicator (reproduced here):

Using the SET Tag Applicator

Using the Automatic SET Tag Applicator

 What’s the difference between RFID and EID?
Practically there is no difference. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification while EID stands for Electronic Identification. Both terms are used widely, but some people tend to use EID to refer to the unique ID number of the animal and RFID to refer to the technology.
 What happens if the sheep tag falls out?
Retention rates for Shearwell SET sheep tags in trials exceed 99.5% so this is unlikely to happen. If it does, the correct treatment is to first identify the animal and its unique ID if possible. This can often be done through the animal’s management tag.

If not, replacement tags are available from Shearwell Australia.

When re-applying tags, check for and treat any possible infection that may be caused if the tag has somehow been wrenched from the ear.
 What colour should tags be?
Sheep tags should follow the year colour code. Shearwell SET tags are UV stabilised with permanent laser etching so they are always easy to read.
 How reliable are the microchips?
The transponders or microchips used in Shearwell tags have a very low failure rate. They are ISO 11784/5 compliant, high performance chips with an excellent read range. Should the electronic tag on a particular animal fail to read, check its identity from the tag and order a replacement.
 Are RFID tags prone to interference?
When used with Shearwell equipment – stick readers, race readers, weigh crates etc. – transponder detection is excellent even in noisy environments such as abattoirs, markets etc. We use high performance ISO 11784/5 compliant chips with an excellent read range for accurate, rapid reading. We believe ours is the best performing electronic ID package on the market.
 What can I do with all the information I collect?
Animal IDs are read by the Shearwell Stick Reader (and Race Reader) and the information can be transferred through Bluetooth wireless connection to computers and other devices.

This information can than be used as the basis for efficient and practical individual animal management. Instead of basing your decisions across a whole mob, you can tailor treatments individually to optimise output. The Shearwell SET system is compatible with a range of reader and management equipment and is supported by Sapien’s suite of livestock management software.
 Can I read other electronic tags with my Shearwell stick reader?
Yes. The Shearwell stick reader (link) is bi-modal (reading both HDX and FDX technologies) and can detect RFID devices, including boluses, in sheep, cattle, pets and even fish.
 Is the use of EID tags mandatory?
The DEPI has mandated that 'all lambs born in Victoria, from 2017 onwards, must be fitted with an electronic identification tag'.
 How many sheep can I record on my stick reader?
The Shearwell SDL 400 Stick Reader can store up to 16,000 individual animal EIDs. These can be downloaded to other devices via Bluetooth.
 Identification and Ovine Johne’s Disease – is notification mandatory?
Ovine Johne’s Disease is a wasting disease that can affect cattle, sheep, goats and other livestock. It is found all across Australia and in some cases it is a notifiable disease. There is advice available to help the livestock farmer develop a prevention and management strategy and further information on these, and on state-specific measures that may need to be taken, check your local State department websites or Meat & Livestock Australia (www.mla.com.au).
 How can I get the most from the livestock data I have collected?
Since long before it was called ‘genetics’, livestock farmers have taken note of their best performing animals and practised selective breeding. Now the information that used to be stored in the farmer’s head or notebooks is available on computers.

Electronic identification of individual sheep has empowered farmers to record increasing amounts of information about their mob so they can make better informed decisions. It has become possible to really identify which are the profitable animals, which fatten best, which show the best conformation, which ewes make the best mothers, which animals are most resilient or resistant to disease and parasites. Collecting that data consistently and turning it into useful information helps livestock farmers make better decisions and more profit.

Among the organisations that have evolved specifically to further the goals of sheep genetics in Australia are meat and livestock industry bodies such as Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and Sheep CRC as well as the individual breed societies and breeding groups. Common to them all is the aim to improve the performance of the livestock and the profitability to the farmer. And going with all of that is the overriding need for accurate, timely and accessible data.