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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Ag Department Has Free Livestock Electronic Ear Tags Available

Thu, 10 Dec 2020 11:48:23 CST

Oklahoma Ag Department Has Free Livestock Electronic Ear Tags Available Livestock producers can now receive free electronic ear tags through the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, said Dr. Rod Hall, state veterinarian.

We have free electronic ear tags available for producers and veterinarians to use in breeding or replacement cattle, Hall said.

Dr. Hall said the Agriculture Department is receiving the tags from USDA and we are able to send them to veterinarians and producers with only a small shipping fee.

The person, clinic, or ranch/farm ordering the tags must have a Premises ID.

The USDA is concerned about tracing livestock in the case of a disease outbreak, Hall said.

To make our traceability more efficient they are promoting new electronic ear tags to replace the old metal tags, he said.

The old metal tags work well but we know there is about a 30 percent error rate when someone writes the number down manually and transfers that to the records, Hall said.

The electronic tags are small button tags with a 15-digit number and a chip that can be read with an electronic tag reader.

The state veterinarian said they have the orange calfhood vaccination tags that can only be ordered by veterinarians to be used when vaccinating heifers for Brucellosis.

These replace the orange metal tags that veterinarians have used since the mid-20th century.

They also have white tags that can be ordered by producers to tag their own cattle or by veterinarians to use when official ID of cattle is required.

The white tags will replace the silver metal tags that veterinarians have used for many years when Brucellosis and TB testing cattle or for official identification for movement.

The USDA is providing the tags at no cost in an effort to "prime the pump" and help producers get used to using the RFID tags which increase our ability to trace cattle in disease outbreaks, Hall said.

There is also free software available to read and store the data.

This will make it easy and quick, Hall said.

Hall estimates that by 2023 the USDA will transition completely to the electronic ear tags.

Hall said this year they received 350,000 tags from the USDA split between regular ID and calfhood vaccination and they expect another 350,000 next year.

Click here for the form to order ear tags.

You can click on the listen bar below to hear more of Ron's interview with Dr. Hall.


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