NLIS tags are here to stay, and smart cattle producers are using the information tracking that is part of the system to improve their operations. One area where you can use the information you are already collecting with NLIS cattle tags is in your breeding operations, allowing you to track a range of data that helps you make your operation more efficient. How? Here's a quick look at some of the higher points you could consider when using NLIS tags to track the health of your cows, calves, and bulls.
Using NLIS-Approved Cattle Tags
Consider this situation: in a specific group of cows, there are always one or two that seem to have problems birthing and that number seems to grow every year. Is it a problem with the bull? Is there a line of genetics in your cows that require different management? You could try a lot of different approaches, but that wastes time and money. Now consider your options when you're using NLIS cattle tags to track that group's health. Each NLIS cattle tag has 2 distinct numbers included on it. The first is the RFID number, which is located inside the tag and is independent of the exterior tag to preventing tampering. The other is a sequential number printed on the outside of the tag, which includes the farm's PIC number, the tag manufacturer's code and a general sequential number, allowing for easy record-keeping in the field. Both numbers may be used in the NLIS database to manage the movement of cattle.
Instead of trying different bulls, more intensive management, or other approaches that may take your cows out of production for the breeding cycle, take a few minutes to look at the NLIS tags file that's related to that group. You may find that one cow in particular regularly has issues, and that it's her heifer calves that you retained for breeding stock that are making the problem worse. Changing the bull they're being bred to for a smaller-framed animal may allow you to get more production out of those cows just by changing one animal out of the situation.
But it's not always the cows that are the problem in your breeding situation. What if you find that the cows aren't related and that it's not a genetic problem? You might find that it's a completely random phenomenon among the cows, but when checking other groups, you realise that your numbers for birth interventions have been creeping up overall, but only for cows serviced by a specific bull. At that point, a similar swap in genetics on the male side may make the difference. You've suddenly boosted breeding efficiency and the profitability of your operation.
Though many cattle farmers have initially been resistant to using NLIS cattle tags on their animals, when you realise the many other benefits that can be used to improve your operation, you can quickly gain levels of efficiency and profitability that have been virtually unknown in the past with all but the most diligent of record-keeping systems. But your NLIS cattle tags are only as good as the way in which they're produced. At AgriEid, we're committed to delivering the best quality available, with tamper-proof, Australian-made tags available in a wide range of colours that we back up with a 100% retention guarantee. Our educational guide can help you learn everything you need to know about your responsibilities in the NLIS program and is freely available here.