If you plan to use radio-frequency identification tags with your management system, invest in a scanner that reads 12 to 18 inches from the tag. That way, when animals are in headlocks, employees don’t have to walk on the feed in order to get the scanner to read the tag, advises John Lee, veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health (formerly with the Atwater-Merced Veterinary Clinic in California).

Here are some other points to keep in mind when selecting RFID tags and scanners.

  • The length and scanning efficiency of readers varies.
  • There is also variability in the readability of RFID tags.
  • Choose a tag and scanner combination that reliably reads tags on the first attempt.
  • It is less fatiguing for employees when the tag-and-scanner combination allows them to scan tags while walking on the concrete outside of the feed bunk instead of within the feed.

For best results, do your homework, advises Lee. Ask your veterinarian and other producers what products they have used and how they performed in the field.