How to Improve RFID Ear Tag Retention


June 17, 2010

RFID ear tag retention is one of the most important physical elements of livestock ear tags. With most livestock agencies such as The USDA, and the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) retention is high priority on the scale for approving livestock ear tags, after material safety. This is the reason why only a few tag manufacturers are approved for use in livestock, versus the many other manufacturers on the market.

To improve tag retention there is some basic tag maintenance that should be performed before tagging livestock, such as cattle, bison, elk, deer, sheep, goats, and pigs.

The most important tip, is to use the correct tag applicator with the ear tags you are using, also you should be using the most current tag applicator, if the manufacturer had designed a newer version of the applicator, then you should be using the current version.

If the applicator allows you to change the tips, then this should be inspected and tips changed frequently. Worn out or bent tips in the applicator, makes it difficult to tag livestock correctly and efficiently, and will decrease tag retention.

If tagging livestock with an applicator and you feel movement as you apply the tag to the ear, chances are retention will not be good, and that tag will eventually will get removed from the ear.

Additional Tips to Improve RFID Tag Retention:



Make sure you are tagging the RFID ear tag in the correct location, as seen above.
Make sure you are using the correct applicator with the ear tag.
Make sure you are using the correct backing studs that came with the RFID ear tag


Following these tips, will improve RFID tag retention, these are steps that are often over looked.

© Copyright 2010 Livestock-ID


Anonymous,  June 19, 2010 at 10:40 AM  

The above picture does not show best placement for the RFID tag. The dangle tag should be where the RFID is and the RFID should be as close as possible to the head and in the top part of the ear so the button is pointing almost straight up. The ear is much thicker here and retention is much better.

George Luker June 19, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

Thank you for your comment. Not sure I follow you on this, if you look at the picture, the button tag is the RFID tag, and it is closest to the head, which gives the best tag retention.
The RFID tag is at 1/4 part of the ear closest to the head. The dangle tag is at 1/2 of the ear, on the right side of the RFID button tag, as indicated in the picture above.

Anonymous,  June 20, 2010 at 9:06 AM  

I realize the button tag is the RFID tag, but in my experience it can be lost in this position, probably not as a calf but later in life. If that tag is applied closer yet to the head and much higher in the ear so it nearly points up and down rather than front to back it will be in a much thicker place. This also allows the dangle tag to move to 1/4 position.

George Luker June 20, 2010 at 7:34 PM  

I understand what your saying, it is a good point and makes sense.

Anonymous,  July 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM  

I agree with anonymous. The depiction offered above is not the best placement. It should be higher in the ear and a little closer to the head.

Anonymous,  March 29, 2015 at 5:53 PM  

I don't understand why the picture indicates that it goes ON a vein in the ear. I have always been instructed to put ANY tags in between the veins, otherwise, they bleed like crazy and it scabs and can get infected.

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Livestock-ID: Animal Identification Resources, is a blog dedicated to helping producers and professionals with the various types of Animal Identification. From RFID wand readers, to cattle management software. Providing tips and how to articles from A to Z.

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