The CattleTrace program continues to expand to additional states as a partnership was announced this week with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry and Oklahoma beef industry stakeholders to evaluate the functionalities and capabilities of the program within the Panhandle State.
Ultra-high-frequency (UHF) readers will be installed in two livestock markets in Oklahoma, and approximately 20,000 tags will be distributed to producers who choose to participate.
CattleTrace also provided an update on the program’s progress since it has now been collecting data for nine months.
“We admit there have been challenges along the way, which we recognize is part of the pilot project process. In the past few weeks, we have made great progress in moving the read rates to the 90s percentage range and will be highlighting our experiences and key learnings at the packer locations in a future newsletter,” CattleTrace said.
Some of the challenges noted included that the power was off when cattle went through the readers, the tag malfunctioned or the reader simply did not read the tag, but cattle recently started showing up at packers, which the company said is providing an opportunity to fine-tune the exact location and settings of the readers in the plants.
“By monitoring read rates and checking in with partners, our goal is fine-tune the CattleTrace infrastructure using UHF technology. We are making progress and are constantly seeking areas to improve,” the company said.
CattleTrace is approaching the goal of distributing 55,000 tags (in Kansas) and is seeking additional partners at the backgrounder and cow/calf levels throughout this next year. The program targets producers who conduct business at a partner livestock market or feedyard to ensure that multiple reads, or sightings, are captured for those animals.
In order to build a data set to test during the two-year pilot, three key production scenarios were identified to allocate the 55,000 tags in a purposeful way, enhancing the likelihood of sighting animals at multiple points of commingling. The three scenarios are:
1. Whole path – Tag calves at the cow/calf segment before the first point of commingling. Ideally, all cattle would be tagged at the ranch of origin, but only a percentage would likely end up at partner livestock markets.
2. Direct buy – Working with partner feedyards to identify cow/calf producers and/or backgrounders to tag cattle before they arrive at the feedyard.
3. Livestock markets – Tag calves after they go through the sale ring at a livestock market, knowing they were purchased by a partner feedyard.