Sidebar: RFID tags key to some cattle ID programs
Three companies have the inside track on the cattle RFID tag market
Computerworld - Allflex USA Inc. and Digital Angel Corp. in the U.S. and Aleis International Pty. Ltd. in Australia have the inside track on providing radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and readers to major beef-producing nations that have instituted national electronic livestock ID systems.
In Australia, the National Livestock Information Scheme has approved tags and readers for use by Australian beef producers from both Brendale, Queensland-based Aleis and Dallas-based Allflex.
The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) has selected Allflex and the Destron Fearing Corp. division of Digital Angel in St. Paul, Minn., as the suppliers of RFID tags for use on cattle in Canada. The CCIA currently allows producers to use either bar-coded or RFID tags; as of Jan. 1, 2005, it will require all cattle to be tagged with RFID tags.
Brazil, another major beef producer, chose Digital Angel in April to develop a nationwide livestock ID system. Kevin Nieuwsma, president of Digital Angel's RFID division, said he couldn't speculate on the potential size of the market in Brazil since tagging there is voluntary, while it's mandatory in Canada.
All three companies use RFID tags, which operate at a lower frequency and shorter distance than the tags Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to use in its supply chain as of January 2005. RFID cattle tags from Aleis, Allflex and Digital Angle all operate at a frequency of 134.2 MHz, while Wal-Mart plans to use tags that operate in the 868-MHz-to-956-MHz frequency band.
Kim Novino, a spokeswoman for Texas Instruments Inc. in Dallas, said TI produces the RFID chips inserted into cattle ear tags manufactured by Aleis and Allflex. Digital Angel uses RFID chips manufactured in a joint venture with Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Co., according to spokesman Len Hall.
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