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New wave of livestock monitors help track disease, breeding times, and support export regulations

By: Brittany Warner

July 29, 2022

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In any large-scale livestock operation, pen checkers have their hands full surveying herds daily looking for animals who are showing signs of illness, something that is now being streamlined by a monitor by Allflex Livestock Intelligence.

The monitor, which can be a collar or a tag, tracks changes in the animal’s temperature, movement and also estrus, if applicable. All of these factors are monitored in real time and reports back to the data bank or tower, every twenty minutes.

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Dave Lehman, Canadian sales manager for Allflex, shares more on the device which was being showcased at Ag in Motion 2022.

“You’re looking for changes. So the animal would have the device on it, for say a week or two, usually with breeding animals who want to go through a heat, and then know what’s normal, and it will record anything above and below with visual tag on your phone with an app or on the computer,” says Lehman.

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By detecting changes in temperature and in activity, this allows pen checkers to identify which animals need to be removed from the herd before illness spreads, much faster than traditional methods. Making the process even more streamlined, the affected animals monitor would light up with an identifying colour which allows the checker to quickly pinpoint their whereabouts.

Livestock operations can also use the tag to track estrus and therefore identify a prime breeding window for each animal.

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Additionally, Allflex is working to create traceability and transparency within the retail and export market. This is done through a monitor that is applied to a calf and tracks the animal from essentially start to finish.

“This takes a small piece of the ear, very small hole, and that allows you to come up with the quality of blood, for a test. So you can track the DNA of an animal from calf right to finished product and a packing plant,” explains Lehman. ” This is pretty common for breed registration on purebreds, it’s used for dairy, swine, it’s very inexpensive and very good quality DNA.”

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Lehman says the alternative to their system which takes a small piece of the ear, would be to pull tail hair and adds that the cost on the device and tests for the ear tissue method has seen a considerable decrease in price, making it a efficient and cost effective method for producers.