An evaluation of electronic identification in 4-H beef, sheep and swine

Brittany Anita Simmons, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to evaluate electronic identification, in the form of an ear tag, in 4-H beef, sheep and swine. The objectives of this study were to determine the retention rate, as well as the readability of the ear tags over various lengths of time. The researcher placed electronic identification (EID) ear tags in 4-H animals at time of county livestock enrollment. A total of 428 beef, 457 sheep and 885 swine were tagged at individual county enrollment days. During weigh-in at the county fair, a total of 302 beef, 360 sheep and 829 swine were evaluated to determine the readability of their EID ear tags. An electronic wand, called a LightningROD, was used to read the EID tags of animals that were to be exhibited at the county fair. The time lapse between ear tagging the livestock and reading the ear tag at the county fair, varied from two days to six months based on animal specie and the participating county.^ The results showed that 98.4% of beef cattle retained their electronic ear tags, 96.3% of sheep retained their ear tags and swine had a 99.1% retention rate. The results also showed that out of the 1,463 animal tags that were still intact within the ear, only one tag was unable to be read by the wand. With the high retention rates and the high readability of the EID tags among all three species, researchers concluded that the EID ear tag is a reliable form of temporary identification in 4-H beef, sheep and swine projects.^




Clinton Rusk, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Agriculture, Animal Culture and Nutrition|Education, Agricultural

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