“In any sheep enterprise, the real drivers of profit are breeding ewes. Their performance with respect to fertility and mothering ability will always dictate how successful you are,” David Rubie said.
Although all agricultural labour is labour-intensive, it is unpredictable in many ways, especially as sheep farmers feel the challenge. These animals require a wide range of grazing to thrive and are therefore difficult to control. This makes the control of breeding, especially in understanding genetics, an imperfect science for farmers. The ewes breed in the fields, and the ewes and lambs are free to live on the pasture. Farmers must find ways to make use of the highest-producing ewes and ultimately ensure that the profits of lamb production are maximized.
That’s what RFID does. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is testing a system based on low-frequency (LF) 125kHz RFID provided by Sapien of Australia, which matches ewe with their lambs to see which ewes produce which characteristics.
Electronic tags are placed on each lamb and ewe, with RFID scanners that link the details of the animals to their tags and then return to normal grazing conditions for 48 hours.
The system uses an RFID reader board at the paddock, the sheep acquires water through the reading Board, and its software captures and analyzes the behavior of the sheep as it travel, thus identifying the associated behavior. “This information allows breeders to predict which ewes will produce the healthiest and most prolific offspring,” said Ride Reden Reid Redden, a Texas A&M professor and AgriLife Extension state sheep and goat specialist at San Angelo.