Animal Management, Sheep

Benefits of using EID tags for sheep

Written by Aimee Johnston

Benefits of using EID tags for sheep

There are many potential flock and cost management benefits of electronic identification (EID) for sheep producers to use on the farm.

The potential is there for:

  • Greater efficiency and accuracy
  • Improved genetic gain
  • Improved information availability
  • Improved accuracy

An EID tag contains a microchip that can be read electronically in a fraction of a second by producers who have a suitable reader (panel or handheld). With electronic reading, transcription errors can be eliminated saving both time and labour in the yards while increasing the accuracy of your information.

With a Racewell Sheep Handler & Scale System the EID scanning, weighing and sorting process is automated resulting in less chance of error. In addition, accurate weighing and sorting ensures that all stock fall into the correct groups to ensure they achieve premium prices at sale.

Te Pari Sheep handlers and drafters come with an integrated EID tag reader that can send tag information directly to your Scale System. The EID tag scanning, weighing and sorting of sheep actions are programmed into the scale indicator which communicates these settings to the Racewell Sheep System. This gives the operator the freedom to move away from the weighing and drafting area, to organise stock while maintaining control and stop or hold an animal at the push of a button on the remote. So the whole process can be done in one pass by 1 person if necessary.

sheep drafting gate racewell handler

Using EID tags for individual animal management

Within any flock of sheep there is a substantial variation in the characteristics that influence an animal’s production level. Using EID or RFID tags to identify each sheep allows farmers to understand these variations which provides opportunities to select or sort animals based on different criteria such as scanning results, breed, growth rate and so on to make informed management decisions for the operation.

Electronic ID allows farmers to measure the performance of individual animals and make decisions specific to each animal, reducing costs and labour, while at the same time maximising returns.

Using a sheep handler with EID scanner, weigh scale & automatic drafting, farmers can easily allocate or sort stock into different groups for better stock management. This could include such things as: the division into different groups by weight to allow priority feeding, or the drafting out of ewes with multiple pregnancies.

Benefits of EID tagging to wool flocks

Some of the benefits of EID in wool flocks include:

  • use of fibre diameter measurement in classing and selection
  • fleece weighing
  • pregnancy status each year
  • ram allocation
  • selecting stock for improved current and future production
  • in a dual purpose enterprise it can be used for allocating Merino ewes or lambs into wool and meat groups based on fibre diameter, fleece weight and body weight

integrated eid tag reader sheep handler

Benefits of EID Tagging to meat flocks

Some of the benefits of EID in meat flocks include:

  • use of weight records and individual growth rates to assist in meeting market specifications
  • pregnancy status each year
  • tracking specific bloodlines
  • match ewes and lambs to calculate kilograms of lamb weaned per ewe
  • using carcass feedback to inform genetic and management decisions
  • ram selection and allocation to specific groups of ewes
  • selecting stock for improved current and future production

Optimising meat and wool

You can optimise meat and wool in your flocks by:

  • segmenting Merino lambs into wool and meat groups based on fibre diameter and body weight
  • calculating the optimal number of ewes to mate to wool versus meat sires
  • making better decisions on which ewe to mate to wool and meat sires based on production levels

Using EID Tags to maximise reproduction

  • Consideration of reproduction rate on selection strategies
  • Optimal use of pregnancy scanning data
  • Capturing pregnancy status using EID

Ewes increase their fertility when target mating weights are reached. Ewes need to be in good body weight and condition for high ovulation rates at mating. It is much more efficient to hold ewe live weight and condition score between weaning and mating as it takes a lot of extra feed to regain weight. Regular weighing helps ensure optimum breeding outcomes.

Using EID Tags to improve parasite control

You can minimise the risk of parasite outbreaks by:

  • using selective drenching
  • identifying poor performers in the flock

Use a Revolution Smart Dosing gun to drench animals to their exact weight for more accurate dosing.

using eid tags to improve parasite control


Industry Traceability

EID tags also provide great advantages to the entire sheep industry. For example, DPI Victoria has used sheep EID tags to trace animals back to their source.

This is primarily used in the case of disease. If a line of animals is found to have a disease, the EID tags can be used to trace them back to the farm they originated from, thanks to the Property Identification Code (PIC) on the tag.

Better animal monitoring and traceability ensures diseases are caught and dealt with early, which helps uphold the reputation of the national sheep industry.

Irrespective of whether other State or Government Departments make the use of EID tags compulsory or not, it is likely that the major abattoirs will bring this in due to the benefits available to them in terms of traceability and compliance.

Return on investment for sheep EID Tag Systems

This ROI calculator is designed to provide insight into the benefits of an individual management strategy for commercial sheep producers. This is also a great tool for determining how quickly you could see a return on an investment in a Racewell Sheep Handler with an integrated EID tag reader.

ROI Calculator

See how quickly you could see a return on an investment!

ROI Calculator

Try it now