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Farmers Benefit as Electronic Tag Success Strengthens Sector

21 January 2013

URUGUAY – Electronic tagging systems have radically improved cattle traceability which has been vital for the national pride of a country that has 11 million head of beef cattle and is one of the world’s major beef exporters.

Through a combination of state funding and the hard work of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the National Livestock Information System, full traceability on cattle is now ensured.

The government has noticed disease identification and isolation has been made easier since Uruguay achieved full traceability around 200/2001 government policy devised a system to mark and monitor animals.

Progress was largely driven by self-interest, according to Antonio Donizeti, IICA representative, who pointed to free trade and the importance of traceability to EU markets as economic factors that stimulated the push for electronic tagging.

This impacts on 45,000 dairy and beef farmers in the country who benefit from improvements in export potential and disease control.It is estimated that for every 1 USD$ invested in livestock sector innovation, 20 USD$ are generated directly.

Electronic tags were commissioned in an experiment on 10 per cent of rodeo cattle in 2003. Following success the system expanded into law in 2006 taking five years to be fully applied to all cattle owners.

The system works by tags being electronically and visually recognisable. Numeric codes identify both the animal and the holding to which it belongs.

Internet and phone requests are sent for identification numbers and can be delivered within 24 hours. The tag stores the age, gender and breed of the animals.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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