Barge, P., Gay, P., Merlino, V. and Tortia, C. 2013. Radio frequency identification technologies for livestock management and meat supply chain traceability. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 93: 23-33. Animal electronic identification could be exploited by farmers as an interesting opportunity to increase the efficiency of herd management and traceability. Although radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions for animal identification have already been envisaged, the integration of a RFID traceability system at farm level has to be carried out carefully, considering different aspects (farm type, number and species of animals, barn structure). The tag persistence on the animal after application, the tag-to-tag collisions in the case of many animals contemporarily present in the reading area of the same antenna and the barn layout play determinant roles in system reliability. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the RFID identification system performance and determine the best practice to apply these devices in livestock management. RFID systems were tested both in laboratory, on the farm and in slaughterhouses for the implementation of a traceability system with automatic animal data capture. For this purpose a complete system for animal identification and tracking, accomplishing regulatory compliance as well as supply chain management requirements, has been developed and is described in the paper. Results were encouraging for identification of calves both in farms and slaughterhouses, while in swine breeding, identification was critical for small piglets. In this case, the design of a RFID gate where tag-to-tag collisions are avoided should be envisaged.
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