On Sat, 20 May 2006 19:23:24 -0500, Brian Bergstein
> By BRIAN BERGSTEIN, AP Technology Writer
> That makes Hassell sound like many other startup technologists -
> pooh-poohing a rival standard at the expense of his own. But something
> makes this situation a bit unusual: Even beef producers who are using
> the passive flavor of RFID don't seem thrilled with it either.
> The Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage, Mo., began using passive
> RFID to identify some cattle in 2001. But co-owner Steve Owens
> believes the technology "hinders the speed of commerce."
> That's because the thousands of cattle that go through his facility
> wouldn't always naturally line up and orderly proceed past devices
> that can read electronic ID tags at short range. Most often, cattle
> quickly move through his yard in groups.
> And if a cow has lost a tag or comes to him without one, "you've got
> to catch that animal in a head chute and hold it still so you can put
> the tag in an ear," he said. That can take 30 seconds each - which
> adds up when you've got thousands of mooing creatures to deal with.
> These factors are big because human contact and other stresses can
> hurt a cow's ability to gain or maintain weight. That's costly because
> beef is, after all, sold by the pound - and generally with slim profit
> That makes this a crucial year. He has to attract potential customers
> while still fine-tuning his system. Part of his pitch is that while
> active tags cost more, their readers can run as low as $50, instead of
> hundreds or even thousands of dollars for passive RFID. The active
> readers' range could be dialed up or down to register multiple cows or
> just one at a time.
> Hassell says his tags' batteries can last five to seven years, well
> beyond the 15-month life of typical beef cattle. And he asserts that
> most of the cost of the tags comes from their plastic housing, not
> their circuitry - so ZigBeef tags could easily include both passive
> and active chips, soothing producers' fears about choosing the wrong
> Once that happens, old methods simply could become too difficult, said
> Allen Bright, animal ID coordinator for the National Cattlemen's Beef
> Association. For example, he notes that people are prone to error as
> they write down ear-tag numbers. It's not exactly easy in auctions
> teeming with 10,000 head of cattle.
> Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
(Above article greatly abridged from original publication here in
Digest last week.)
It's been available in Australia for quite some time. You have been
able to track the product in the food chain for quite some time.
Cattle don't seem to mind at all.