US cattle traceability system lags behind other competitors
In the matter of traceability, the US cattle industry is far behind other international competitors and that could represent a disadvantage for beef exporters.
Australia launched its National Livestock Identification System in 1999 and that innovation helped the country to establish a bigger market share in the EU and Asia. In the last 10 years, Uruguay and New Zealand developed similar systems for their industry.
Now, the US seems ready to set its own national traceability system by launching Cattle Trace, a public-private partnership developed in Kansas, informs Drovers magazine.
"We have the opportunity to develop a cattle disease traceability system on our terms. The capabilities of Cattle Trace will enable us to do the right thing for animal health and biosecurity, and for the entire U.S. beef cattle industry," says Brandon Depenbusch, vice president of cattle operations for Innovative Livestock Services (ILS), a cattle feeding group who covers Kansas and Nebraska.
Ultra-high frequency technologies will be utilized in Cattle Trace to collect the minimal data necessary, including an individual animal identification number, a GPS location, and date and time, in order to track animals in the event of a disease outbreak.
At least ten feedlots plan to participate in the pilot project along with ILS. The project will also include participation from livestock markets, cow-calf ranches and beef processors who will have tag readers to monitor cattle movement. Beginning in fall 2018, movement data will be collected and the project plans to continue for approximately two years.
"We know for a traceability system to be effective, it needs to be simple, fast, and affordable to make its adoption within the industry as seamless as possible. We are working to build a system to test today and one that will serve the U.S. beef cattle industry in the future.", says Brad White, director of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University.
CattleTrace is a collaborative partnership between Kansas State University, the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), USDA and individual producers. Funding is coming both from the public and private sector.
According to a recent study conducted by World Perspectives, 57% of producers support animal identification at the ranch of origin. The study also revealed 62% of producers support the idea that information generated by an animal identification and traceability system should be made available to government entities in the event of a disease outbreak.
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