Research out of the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) suggests that radio frequency identification (RFID) tags inserted into an animal’s ear cold not only require more strength to install, they are also much weaker than those installed at room temperature.
These findings will no doubt be a warm message on a cold day to producers looking for another reason to warrant a dismissal of tagging calves in the cold.
“Inserting the tags in the cold and comparing their strength with warm-applied tags was something about the tags that we believe no one else has tested,” Joy Agnew, project manager at PAMI noted in a press release. “The whole effect of temperature on tag retention was a question mark.”
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In the study, tags and applicators were installed when they reached temperatures of -30 and their strength was tested once warmed to ambient temperature. These findings were then compared to tags applied at room temperature. The study found the cold-applied tags were not only more difficult to insert than their warm-applied counterparts, they were also far weaker in strength tests.
Based on these findings, PAMI suggests avoiding tagging animals in extreme cold temperatures where possible, and in instances where animals must be tagged, it’s recommended the applicator and tags are kept warm before and during application.